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.