By Ray Fleming
THE persistent faultline at the heart of the British government for the past ten years is causing trouble to the very end.
The inability of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to work easily with each other has been fully exposed over the years and is to get more embarrassing publicity in a Channel 4 TV documentary on Saturday. For the most part the problems caused by their disagreements have been managed within 10 and 11 Downing Street.

This week, however, their apparent inability to reach agreement on tactics for the European Union Summit meeting beginning tomorrow seems likely to cause difficulties for the German president Angela Merkel and also for the re-charged entente cordiale with France.

It is impossible in this space to cover the complexities of the issues on which Mr Blair and Mr Brown seem not to agree but the most basic is whether Britain would be obliged to hold a referendum on a new constitution or version of the existing one. Mr Blair says “No”, but Mr Brown appears to say “Maybe”.

The fault is Mr Blair's for insisting on attending this meeting when he will have no say at all in handling its consequences.
If he had chosen June 20 to resign Mr Brown would be in Brussels tomorrow. Why did he opt for June 27 if it was not to make life difficult for his successor or to put down a marker for his own future role in Europe?


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