This weekend former prime minister Tony Blair has written what he would probably like to have treated as a major article for The Observer, in which he urges Western politicians to switch their global strategy from the promotion of democracy to ‘dealing with’ – if not the containment of – religious fanaticism wherever it arises.
See here for a report on his article, spotted today on the website of – THE GUARDIAN
No doubt to he and his family’s considerable frustration, in the eyes of the British public, the stock of Brand Blair has dropped like a stone since he departed office after eleven years and left the country in the clutches of Gordon Brown and now the Coalition.
Only this month, a waiter in a Shoreditch restaurant attempted to effect a citizen’s arrest on Mr Blair for ‘war crimes’, apparently the fifth such incident in recent times.
How are the mighty fallen.
Looking back, it seems as though the impressionists and satirists had captured Blair’s personality and approach even more accurately than we had fondly imagined at the time. In many ways, he was the first American-style British politician – a consummate speech-maker and television performer, oozing faux-sincerity, who could be seductively persuasive whichever side of an argument he chose. A snake oil salesman for the 21st Century, a man you definitely couldn’t trust.
That said, I don’t blame Blair entirely for the disrespect in which we, the great British public, now hold our politicians. The extraordinary parliamentary expenses scandal of 2009 did that, taking the exposed reality way beyond the wildest imaginings of our most cynical commentators and comedians.
The last I saw an estimate, Blair has amassed a fortune in excess of £80 million since he resigned as prime minister. He has done this by becoming official envoy for the ‘Quartet on the Middle East’, making speeches at the drop of a hat, establishing a charitable foundation and developing a high-profile consultancy advising sundry disreputable world leaders on matters great and small.
As a result, he commands an enviable reputation upon the world stage – especially in America – and yet is regarded as a mendacious pariah in his own country.
Here’s an article by Andrew Gilligan – he of the BBC ‘sexed-up’ dossier scandal – that appears on the website of the Daily Telegraph today, previewing this summer’s intended publication of the CHILCOT REPORT