The former British Labour Prime Minister has forged a seemingly unlikely friendship with the conservative President of France. Nicolas Sarkozy invited Tony Blair to address the National Council of the UMP party in Paris, a move which raised a few eyebrows among French socialist circles.
And Blair enchanted the delegates, with his speech in French. “As you know,” he said, “I am a politician of the centre-left. I believe in progressive politics. In the USA, I would be a Democrat. In the UK, I am Labour. In France, I would be,” he paused, “probably in the government.” The audience collapsed into laughter before Blair added, “no, no I’m joking. I am staying with my political family. I would be a socialist, but on the side of those who have change close to their hearts.”
This meeting of minds in Paris goes some way to explain why Sarkozy is backing Blair to become President of the European Union.