The Blair Rich Project

News has reached my ear that our beloved former Prime Minister Tony Blair has taken on yet ANOTHER high profile job – this time working in an advisory capacity for France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault who’s company LVMH owns the Moet and Krug champagne labels, the Louis Vuitton luxury goods brand, as well as Christian Dior and Hennessy cognac. In an astonishing article, The Times reported in 2008 that Tony Blair has pocketed more than £12 million since leaving Downing Street a figure which will only increase given this latest addition to what is being widely dubbed as the “Blair Rich Project”. Much of Blair’s earnings remain secretive however what we do know is that he receives £84,000 of taxpayers’ money to run a private office and is entitled to an annual pension of £63,468, he has made £5 million in advance from his memoirs, a further £2 million from an advisory role at JPMorgan Chase, £500,000 from Zurich Financial Services and he has an ever increasing property portfolio!

So why does this matter you may ask? Should we really care what a former Prime Minister is earning? In theory no we shouldn’t but I believe that the recent realisation of the extent of the rot that has set in to British political, economic and social life can be traced back to the man that headed and dominated British government for 10 years and his mentality both in and out of office. Anthony “call me Tony” Blair’s loyalty was and clearly remains “with the highest bidder”. We should not be suprised at this given the fact that New Labour was only made electable once Blair had put Clause IV through the shredder and “prostituted” his party, and later his country, to the bankers and their excesses.

Even veteran Labour MP’s including Ken Purchase have had the common sense to concede that Blair’s fundamental legacy to the country can be summed up as “‘superficial and money-obsessed” glossed over by “cuddly speeches and heart warming smiles”. In this light it is increasingly a widely accepted view that while in office Blair frequently and flagrantly abused the powers of the Prime Minister to his or his party’s financial advantage and indeed there is some weight to this argument. There are countless examples that show clearly that Labour, particularly under Blair, lacked a moral compass and in many of these examples money was a driving force. Whether it was:

  • Exempting personal donors to the Labour party from government legislation – eg F1 and the smoking ban
  • Selling the honours of the land in return for donations to the Labour party – dubbed “cash for honors”
  • Accepting luxury goods and hospitality for him and his family from wealthy international businessmen – businessmen who would later go on to employ him
  • Presiding over an unprecidented taxing, borrowing and spending binge which has achieved paltry improvements to the public services and left the country in the worst position of almost any industrialised nation to face the global economic downturn
  • Taking us to war on a lie – something which he has now all but admitted
  • Making spin and sleaze an integral and invaluable part of the government machine
  • Sending our troops in to two wars ill equipt and ill funded
  • Allowing an unprecidented increase in immigration “swamping” communities and leading to a further erosion of British identity
  • Fostering the breakdown of society, family and marriage through divisive legislation and the tax/welfare system
  • Bringing parliament and politics in to total and utter disrepute by presiding over the worst scandal to grip the Commons in living memory in the form of parliamentary expenses
  • Making dodgy deals to “hand over power” as if the office of Prime Minister was their “gift to give”…

Blair, Brown and Labour as a whole have sold the country down the river. I wonder how our Labour counterparts can justify the fact that while the rest of the country (and the world at large) was crashing economically, their former leader was, and still is, experiencing his own little “Blair boom”. I suppose the great irony of it all is that while the personal “Bank of Blair” gets richer with each day that passes, his and his party’s legacy at home is being exposed as more bankrupt than ever. If there is any justice left in Britain, Labour will be severely punished at the polls for their greed and deception and they will have to endure a long overdue return to the political wilderness.

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23 thoughts on “The Blair Rich Project

  1. Pingback: Response to the “Blair rich project” « Birmingham University Labour Students

  2. “o Bringing parliament and politics in to total and utter disrepute by presiding over the worst scandal to grip the Commons in living memory in the form of parliamentary expenses”….All Blair and Labour’s fault then….*cough* clean moat *cough* lol

  3. So it’s not ok for a former PM to do a lot of private work but it is ok for Tory front benchers to do outside work and rake in the pounds?

    Double standards.

  4. “… a former PM to do a lot of private work …”

    To quote the Financial Times of 30th Oct. 2009″
    <i."One friend says that if Mr. Blair emerged from a meeting with an Arab emir having won a donation to the Palestinians, a donation to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and a consultancy fee, that would be 'a good trip'.

    "His post-premiership globe-trotting has involved meetings with controversial presidents such as Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, as well as doing commercial work in Libya of Muammer Gaddafi."

  5. It is a widely accepted view that as Prime Minister Blair used his power to his and his party’s advantage. That to me constitutes an abuse of power. I don’t care what he does as a private citizen per se, what I care about is what he did in office and the fact that the vast majority of the “dodgy deals” he made as Prime Minister seem to have benefited him in his retirement.

    All former Prime Ministers and indeed current politicians, are entitled to make money from memoirs, lectures, consultancy etc, no-one is disputing that. But when that “job” results in a conflict of interest, or when you use your entrusted political power to benefit a third party and then get rewarded for it in your retirement, no its not acceptable.

  6. This is one of the worst posts so far. How is it Blair’s fault that a Tory MP uses tax-payers money to clear out his moat?

    Then of course there’s the typically vacuous claims: “Fostering the breakdown of society, family and marriage through divisive legislation and the tax/welfare system”. From a party that can’t make it’s mind up about the married couples allowance, allowed unemployment to top 3 million and destroyed communities across Britain, that’s a little bit rich. You talk about the breakdown of society but at least in Blair we had a PM who believed that it exists.

    “Making dodgy deals to “hand over power” as if the office of Prime Minister was their “gift to give”…

    Remind me how Michael Howard became leader of your party. You obviously don’t understand our constitution. We are a parliamentary democracy so it’s perfectly legitimate for Brown to become PM just as it was for Major, Home, Macmillan, Eden and Chamberlain.

  7. ‘Allowing an unprecidented increase in immigration “swamping” communities and leading to a further erosion of British identity’

    Just what is British identity exactly? I would love to hear you clarify this for me.

  8. Im not going to pick your comments apart word by word because frankly I don’t care enough, I’ve got far more important things to be doing than engaging in petty point scoring with you on the blog. Ive made my position clear enough. Instead ill give you a few short criticisms to work from.

    1) Much of what you say seems to use a historical example as a contemporary justification. “Major, Hume, Macmillan, Eden were blah blah…” Forgive me Jack but you seem to be advocating the position that “two wrongs make a right”. You are also forgetting the wider context; in those days legitimacy and transparency in politics were not seen as important as they are today. Such “undemocratic” pratices were largely accepted by the people and politicians as a whole. This however is meant to be an age of greater transparency and accountability precisely because of such practises. Labour were meant to be the “great reformers” yet here they are using historical “patriarchal politics” as their justification…

    2) The Howard comparison is questionable although I partly accept the “principle” of the point. That said Michael Howard became Leader of the Opposition not Prime Minister and the public did get their chance to endorse or reject him as their potential PM in 2005. Blair however was elected in 2005 on a promise to serve a full third term, not Brown – Blair. As we know this was one of many broken promises from his election campaign. The public were decieved and as such they had a right to consent to their “new” Prime Minister when Blair was forced out.

    3) You have always been one to spout statistics and theories rather than looking and learning for yourself. Politics is meant to be about people. Go out on to the street and have a look around you. This IS largely a more unhappy, distrusting and divided society than it was. Its questionable whether we have any moral compass at all and Labour, whether you accept it or not, have penalised marriage through the tax system which has fostered the breakdown of the family. I for one am delighted David Cameron will do something about this. Family is the root to solving the problems society faces not subsidy and welfare as Labour seem to believe.

    So yes I stand by my points. Blair had no fundamental conviction or ideology. His loyalty was and remains with the highest bidder and whether or not the expenses scandal was entirely of his making is irrelevant as while he was banging on about reform, accountability and transparency one of the worst scandals to hit British politics was occuring right under his nose and with his implicit consent.Britain is broken and if you took your head out of your books for long enough you’d see it.

  9. We are a parliamentary democracy not a presidential system. On point 3, you knock stats but I’m afraid saying that this country is worse off on the basis of chatting to people is simply not good enough. It’s easy to take things for granted that we didn’t have in 1997. How much do you want to reverse? Are you really going to say to people: We’ll get rid of your winter fuel allowance, free passports and TV licenses for the elderly, the minimum wage etc. as a means to returning us to 1997?

    If marriage is such a great institution (and I believe it is) then why does it need subsidising? I’m still unsure of where the Tories stand on this anyway.

    “Family is the root to solving the problems society faces not subsidy and welfare as Labour seem to believe.”

    How do you intend to achieve this? Are you suggesting that we cut the tax credits that children of single mothers depend on? (BTW, the cost of social security rose massively under the last conservative government.) The welfare state may not be perfect but many people don’t choose to be vulnerable.

  10. Jack, how exactly did the Conservative party destroy communities across Britain? A sweeping statement if ever I saw one…

  11. Oh come on that’s blatantly obvious. Over 3 million unemployed (twice), mining communities decimated, etc, etc.

    • 2.5 million unemployed is ok then, as is the erosion of rural communities. Heavy industries like steel moved overseas under this Labour government, and they’ve built on large swathes of the green belt. They’ve closed local schools, centralised police forces so there are no village policemen anymore and given very little consideration for farmers and anyone who doesn’t live or work in an urban sprawl. That to me is the destruction of communities across Britain, but it’s overlooked because they’re all apparently Tory voters anyway, all very rich and they don’t strike.

  12. 2.5 million, nearly a million better than if we’d taken Tory advice. UK still the 6th largest manufacturer on the planet. “centralised police forces so there are no village policemen”, nah there’s in fact more now. And “all very rich”, well no wonder we don’t “help” them, as we help those who are in true need.

    And oh yeh, my link is there, stupid me, lol!

    • You missed the word “apparently”. I live in a rural community, and it’s getting poorer not richer. The villages near me all used to have a police house, ensuring that there was a policemen who lived in, and knew the village and was able to deal with problems. First they were moved 10 miles away, and all the houses were sold off. Now they’re 20 miles away. Crime rates have risen in my village as a result, and everyone feels like the police have given up on villages.

  13. Max – you might like to compare unemployment/international competitiveness/manufacturing output/disposable income/new car sales/average graduate debt/almost anything with 1997.

    I suppose house prices are higher now (rolls eyes*).

    NB – Similar numbers are ‘incapacitated’ as are ‘unemployed’. You get paid more for being incapacitated.

  14. It amuses me how Labour always chalk it back to Thatcher. Let me ask Labour, Max in particular, if the Tories time in power was so bad, if curbing the unions and closing the pits was unneccessary and ‘destroyed communities’ as you claim, why haven’t Labour done a single thing to reverse this legislation after 13 years in power?

    Or better yet why have they devoted so much of their time in government to emulating (in a very poor way) Mrs Thatcher’s politics? New Labour is a hybrid regime comprised of neo-liberalism and social democracy, they sought to use and expand Thatcher’s economic policies to persue social policies. In many ways they have done this but lest we forget that this was only possible because of Thatcherism. The social democratic strand to New Labour was and always will be subordinate to and dependant on the neo-liberal strand. Therefore Labour lost the right to ‘Thatcher bash’ the day they became “New Labour” ie Thatcherlite.

  15. I’m not saying “curbing the unions and closing the pits was unecessary”, it was in fact necessary, but rather than plucking at the Union’s feathers, Thatcher ripped their wing right off. And the reason why most of the legislation wasn’t reversed is becuase for a party trying to change itself to escape the political wilderness, to then go along with outdated policies would have been political suicide all over again.

    “emulating…Mrs Thatcher’s politics?”? Minnimum wage, devolution, minnimum standards for the NHS, even more nurses and community support officers and the list goes on…..and on….much of which is (or was) opposed by particular party.

    “unemployment/international competitiveness/…new car sales/” of course they’re down we have just experienced a global recession, it would have gone down regardless of the party and hang on “average graduate debt/”, don’t the Tories support that now?

  16. Let me get this straight…. you are accepting that closing the pits was neccessary? So let me ask you – if you concede closing the pits was neccessary, how can you criticise the fact that there was high levels of unemployment? I know Labours grasp of economics and business is a bit shaky ( :P )but when large industries close down people are inevitably made unemployed are they not? Also in regard to the communities you claim were “destroyed” again let me ask you- If communities are too dependant on an unprofitable, unproductive and unhealthy industry and, as you’ve already said, it was “neccessary” to close them down then sorry but what do you expect?

    Do you think new industries are going to spring up over night and instantly employ the people made unemployed by the pit closures? No of course not. Unemployment and the damage inflicted to communities was an unfortunate but neccessary evil however as Thatcher always maintained – the benefits would, and have, come in the longer run. New industries rose up, the nation became richer, more productive, more self confident and more profitable than at any time in the post war period. Unemployment came down, the housing market boomed, inflation and the unions were tamed and we had an unprecidented period of economic growth -this was not all Labours doing as you would have us believe but Thatchers. She took the tough decisions neccessary and took personal responsibility for them at the time while others would have cut and run. The only thing to New Labours credit is they had the common sense, in part, to recognise a good thing when they saw it and use it to their advantage.

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