O Sr. Barroso está na merda profunda - or so I am told. It seems that the political chaos created by his deputy, whom he left in charge of Portugal after scuttling off to Brussels to take up his post as ruler in chief of the evil empire, is coming back to haunt him big-time.
Conscious that his departed political allies are now blaming him for the chaos, and his name is inextricably linked with the EU, El Barroso has twigged that his personal merda-factor (or its Portuguese equivalent) could affect the way his compatriots vote in the forthcoming EU referendum.
Not wishing to be remembered in the history books as the president who brought down the constitution, José Manuel Durao is now pleading with what is left of his country’s government to delay the planned referendum, tentatively scheduled for March, in case it becomes a "how-dare-you-bugger-off-and leave-us-with-that-idiot" vote which, loosely translated into Portuguese, comes out as "no".
Convincing absolutely no one, he claims his real reason for the delay is that "a time of political crisis is certainly not the best moment to discuss the European constitution." That is what he tried telling reporters on the sidelines of a conference, oddly enough on European identity. Barroso must be wishing for a change – of identity, that is, possibly Outer Mongolian.
Anyhow, within a matter of months, there will be a general election in Portugal, when it is expected that the main opposition Socialists, who in September elected a telegenic new leader, former environment minister Jose Socrates, will sweep to a landslide victory.
Although, like Barroso’s party, the Socialists back the EU constitution, it remains to be seen whether the new man, who will have the power to decide when the referendum is held, will be able to resist the temptation to drop his former rival deeper in the merda.