Tories attack Catherine Ashton

Labour Party

Yesterday morning I was accosted by Conservative MEP Charles Tannock (on the left in the picture) and harangued about the perils, as he perceived it, of Cathy Ashton being the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs.  He has now expanded his views on the Conservative Home website.

Following this outburst, it became apparent later in the day that there is a concerted campaign against Baroness Ashton orchestrated by the British Conservatives and other right-wing elements in the European Parliament.  They don’t like her because she is Labour and they cannot bear the fact that a woman has been appointed to one of the two top EU jobs.

I have blogged before about Cathy Ashton’s obvious merits  which are accepted by all who have worked with her.  Rest assured that she would not have been made High Representative if she wasn’t considered up to the job.  I have no doubt whatsoever that she is an excellent a choice and will do a great job on behalf of the European Union.

The Tories are behaving extremely badly.  Cathy Ashton was the choice of the centre right as well as the centre left.  The agreement in the end was that the right would have the President of the Council position and the left the High Representative.  Since the EU works on the basis of consensus, you would have thought the Tories would have had the good grace to go along with the decision of the majority.  I would also have expected the British Conservatives to support a British candidate.  Getting behind your national appointee has always been the convention.  It is a sad day when the Conservatives so obviously flout this understanding.

6 thoughts on “Tories attack Catherine Ashton

  1. Mary, much as appreciate your enthusiasm for Baroness Ashton, I’m not convinced by your claim that was considered “up to the job”.

    Sarkozy was the single head of state holding out against Juncker’s appointment. His “endorsement” of Baroness Ashton was transparently ‘put-on’ (specifically he noted she had fought tirelessly to get the Lisbon Treaty through the House of Lords, etc).

    She was distinctly low-key in her replacement role after Mandelson. Hardly what I would have hoped for in the “face” of the EU internationally. But, clearly, that suits Sarkozy, etc, fine: they want to retain their own limelight-hugging roles on the international scene. Meanwhile our High Representative will be expected to maintain her low-key profile – aand to stick to her masters’ script.

  2. I have no doubt about her abilities… I want to see her policies.

    I am not clear whether the view that the Tories resent a woman is fair, but I am sure they see her as a dangerous opponent.

    If Sarkozy was luke-warm: I would take an insult from him as a compliment, indeed I would love to be damned by his faint praise!

    Good luck Mary for getting insulted by Sarkozy!

  3. To be fair to the Tories, I dont think that you can accuse them of chauvinism in their reluctance to support a UK woman becoming the EU High Representative, they did vote choose Margaret Thatcher as their Leader. The problem with the Conservatives is that they will not support UK interests in the EU; interests which would be well served by keeping their promise of a referendum on the EU Constitution/Lisbon Treaty.

  4. I would like to add to my earlier comments.

    Some people feel that the UK should have gone for the major economic posts: but key ‘players’ would not have found this acceptable when Britain is outside the Euro zone. So inevitably the economic post would go to a Euro zone person, probably centre-right.

    Therefore it is a very good thing that in Cathy we have somebody from the centre-left with an economic training who has the expertise to counter the more unacceptable centre-right policies from the economics High Person.

    I note that Mr Van Rompuy also has a training in economics (and philosophy). I am not clear whether he is the sort of Christian Democrat who is centre or centre-right.

  5. dear Sir,
    I woud confine any “representation ” form myself to Cathy Ashton to Mitchell’s Brewery in Lancaster. I think itshould be funded by the Eurpean Development Fund as part of the Adult College there. THere were plans for its demolishment and then some prtests were made successfully. However as building unde a measure of protection it should be put to some use like Ashton of Lancaster’s mills have been as indeed converted into the Adult College.

  6. I never heard anyone criticize Tony Blair for his support for Nuclear Disarmament ca. 1983.

    Poor guy can’t win: support for Nuclear Disarmament ca. 1983. Taking us into Iraq War 20 years later.


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