News late last night that our outgoing leader Tony Blair is being promoted by recently elected French President Nicholas Sarkozy as the first full-time European President poses some ticklish questions of democratic legitimacy.
To start the ball rolling, I'm re-reading a piece published a year ago in Chartist written by former Guardian European editor, John Palmer. Among his proposals to develop the European Demos was the idea of extending individual membership of national political parties to the European level.
If adopted by the Labour Party in the UK, this would mean that in addition to being a member of my local branch party, entitled to vote for delegates to my local Westminster Parliamentary Constituency Party and so on, I could also be an individual member of the European Socialist Party.
Now if that meant I could vote for who was going to represent the European Socialist Party in the forthcoming (not) European Presidential elections, that would be a major democratic break through.
I don't think that was what M. Sarkozy had in mind. But if Gordon Brown wants a big idea...........