Apparently, one of Tony Blair's guiding principles was to avoid battles he could not win. Sound enough and obvious enough, so what was David Cameron up to with his handling of the Jean-Claude Juncker appointment?
From the BBC.
David Cameron has insisted his failure to stop the nomination of Jean-Claude Juncker for the EU's top job is not his "last stand" in Europe.
The UK prime minister admitted it would make securing the reforms he wants harder but he vowed: "I am not going to back down."
EU leaders voted 26-2 to reject Mr Cameron's plea to prevent Mr Juncker becoming European Commission president.
Labour said it had been a "humiliating defeat" for a "toxic" prime minister.
Mr Cameron said the selection of Mr Juncker, whom he regards as an outdated Brussels insider committed to closer political union, was "a bad day for Europe".
Surely there is a puzzle here, because the outcome was obvious from the start. It was a battle Cameron could not win and he was bound to come out of it as a feeble loser. So why do it? Why make a big deal of the matter? I only see one possibility but perhaps there are more.
Cameron may have been advised that in fighting the Juncker shoo-in he would attract enough support from other EU leaders to allow him to pose as a kind of moderate EU sceptic. This in turn could attract a significant slice of the UKIP vote during next year's general election. Yet as neither outcome was likely, he may have been set up.
Well that's the best I can do - I'm scratching my head over this one. Maybe he's simply a plonker.