Ireland’s second referendum of the Lisbon Treaty will take place on 2 October 2009. If the Treaty is then ratified by the European Union’s 27 member states it will create the role of President of the European Council. We in Britain may never get the chance to vote on the Treaty, nor on the choice of person for the President of the EU if the Treaty proceeds, but the over 50s in Britain have made their views known clearly on the idea of Tony Blair becoming President. Research from the Saga Populus Panel, the largest research panel of over 50s in the UK, reveals widespread objection to Tony Blair assuming the role.
Almost three fifths (59%) of those aged 50 and over said they would oppose a move to make Britain’s ex Prime Minister the first President of Europe. The older the respondents are, the more they are against the notion with two thirds (66%) of the over 70s expressing this sentiment compared to 56% of 55-59 year olds. In addition, men are more resistant than women (62% vs 56%).
Paul Green, Head of Communications at Saga commented: “It seems that making Tony Blair Monsieur le Président would get a loud Non merci from British over 50s. Whether it is the notion of a European President or the impression his time as Labour leader left with the over 50s we don’t know.
Recent figures have shown that Britain has the fourth highest level of pensioner poverty in the EU, and his decline from grace with the most powerful part of the British electorate may be a lesson for others. Perhaps their rejection of Blair could be a case of ‘pour encourager les autres’. So watch out Messieurs Brown and Cameron – ignore the over 50s at your peril.”
The Saga Populus Panel is an over 50s on line panel. The results were from research carried out online between 14th and 20th August 2009. There were 10,308 respondents.
For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529