For all the flaws in its system, the USA is in the process of electing its president. Meanwhile the worlds second biggest power block, the EU, is in the process of stitching up a deal amongst a handful of the great and the good to give the job of European President to one of its own.
Amongst the candidates for the job of second most powerful man in the world is Tony Blair. Personally I can't think of a person less suited to the job and sincerely hope he doesn’t get selected. However the reasons the French establishment have given for not backing Blair are a cause for concern. According to Friday's Telegraph:
Valérie Giscard d'Estaing, the former French president and the father of the now defunct EU constitutional treaty, said that Europe's first president must have majority support from his home country, which should be a nation that "respects all its European commitments". Something that he claimed Britain did not do.
"Tony Blair cannot be president of Europe," agreed Edouard Balladur, the former conservative French prime minister close to Mr Sarkozy, writing in yesterday's Le Monde newspaper.
Despite his "declarations of good intent," for 10 years, Mr Blair "did nothing to put an end to Britain's special status", with its opt-outs in the fields of justice and home affairs and non-membership of the euro and border-free Schengen zone.
These comments don't just rule Blair out but, in effect, say that nobody from the UK could ever be EU president unless or until the UK toes the French line. They also show the fatal flaw in the SNP and Plaid's policy of Independence in Europe.
No country could ever be independent in Europe, because the movers and shakers who are at the heart of the institution and who are responsible for its development don't see the EU as a federation of independent nations. They see it as the restoration of the Napoleonic or Holy Roman Empires.
The SNP and Plaid's aims are in practice policies of leaving the British Empire in order to be a peripheral part of the New European Empire.
I much prefer the English Democrat's policy of getting out of the UK and out of Europe.