An Apology 2121

I am so committed to getting my book finished I really don’t have time or energy to blog at the moment, and realise it has been very desultory the last few weeks. I am well and happy, it is just that writing a properly researched history is incredibly intensive. I realise there is much of great interest happening in the world, but I must sometimes cut myself off from it.

This is why I don’t ask for donations for the blog…

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2,121 thoughts on “An Apology

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  • Ba'al Zevul

    Too late now to obtain tickets for standup phenomenon T. Blair and his similarly self-enriching (though never elected) politician crony Jonathan Powell, supported by their old mentor Bill Clinton, at Queen’s University Belfast tomorrow. All gone, sorry. But you will be able to catch The Master’s pearls of wisdom relayed to the world later by the TBIfTB, we have no doubt. Joe Coral has declined to take our offer of a bet that the blairing will include copious reference to Brexit, in addition to oh so modestly disclaiming any notion that he, Blair, single-handedly reconciled the Irish with the Third Way. Aw, shucks, guys.
    Funny that Mandelson’s not there, but maybe Trump’s revenge on old chum Oleg Deripaska means that he’s got unscheduled advising to do elsewhere…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    (numerous expletives deleted; please supply your own – BZ)

    Is there no end to the man’s self-aggrandising, morally-degraded, bombastic desire to spend money we haven’t got on causes which cannot possibly benefit us?


    Tony Blair has said Theresa May can launch an air attack on the Syrian government without the approval of MPs – as he urged her to stand with the US over the latest chemical weapons attack.

    How much more chaos does the bastard want in the ME? While lining up with (expletives) like John Bolton to destroy anyone Netanyahu considers vaguely hostile to a state not our own, on the one hand, on the other he witters unsuppressibly on about his ‘centrist’ fantasy.

    We are no fan of Russia’s or Assad’s, none at all. We find ourselves at unresolvable odds with Craig on this one, in fact. But the chances of peace under Assad’s despotism are a damn sight higher than those for peace under democracy, globalist-style, requiring a puppet government and in the face of major and continuing disagreement among the current combatants. It worked before, until Blair’s neocon chums stirred it up and turned a peaceful movement into a very-well armed insurrection. Assad’s regime wasn’t nice, it wasn’t humane, and it wasn’t democratic, but is this? Is any likely outcome of escalating and complicating the violence going to be better?

    If Blair had any shame at all, he’d shoot himself. But, having never held a rifle himself, and his nearest approach to an active war zone having been at 45,000 feet above it in an executive jet, he (expletive) presumes….?

    • Ba'al Zevul

      A disclaimer is needed here. Despite every Russian-backed outlet on t’web collapsing in hysterical laughter – a we did – at Blair’s intervention, we do realise that Russia has a dog in the fight, and an overwhelming interest in preventing its further escalation, especially considering its relaxed attitude to the use of illegal chemical agents by its allies. Or indeed by itself.

      And here we find ourselves in broad agreement with Russia, for once. But for very different reasons, besides our visceral loathing of everything Blair.

      It’s reasonably certain that any investigation of the latest chlorine attack will be inconclusive, if only because the guilty party will ensure that it is. There is little or no chance, given the situation on the ground, that anyone above the rank of corporal will be disciplined, or that an exchange of missiles will convince anyone not already convinced (as we are) that the use of chemical weapons is beyond the pale. Therefore there is no point in taking ‘punitive’ action which may well kill and maim many more people than the chlorine attacks, and, to be brutal about it, just as painfully and disgustingly. There is a much better case for tightening up controls if and when international tensions die down, under the promise of genuine and rigorous economic sanctions.

      We return you to the studio.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    A blairing is threatened in Singapore on the 13th. Presented by DLF Group – Indian property developers – and in particular their new Gurgaon yuppie lifestyle development, The Camellias (payment for publicity in brown envelope to usual cutout please – BZ), we fear that Mr Blair has not been given star billing here, where he is listed after the cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. The topic of his discourse is as yet unknown, but we have little doubt that Gurgaon, (pace Kipling’s description of Carthage in ‘Stalky & Co’, “a sort of n***er Manchester”) is the most wonderful place on earth apart from Singapore, that Tony just loves your Singaporean culture, and with your help we won’t have to leave Europe, and we’ll help India/Singapore join. Buzzword bingo: ‘political centre’, ‘European Union’, ‘leadership’, ‘entrepreneur’ …etc.

    Cherie was in India last month. Where wimmin ‘can be the shining stars in India’s growth story’, apparently. Just don’t tell their husbands, right?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    While Blair may not be front and, well, centre of the new putative centrist party backed by former DVD salesman Simon Franks, we imagine that he and Brown are lurking in the shadows awaiting their opportunity. Whether or not the Other Miliband abandons International Rescue and Lady Penelope to run the project. Little is known, and less published regarding Franks, but Companies House reveals several co-directorships with Jonathan “Lord” Mendelsohn, whose commercial (and spiritual) milieu is similar. Mendelsohn acted for Brown in the capacity that identically unelected “Lord” Levy did for Blair – fundraising. Is Franks playing for a peerage too, we wonder? Or is he just a channel for Levy’s old cash stream? Either way, certain recent criticisms of Corbyn’s Labour might become identifiable as a pre-emptive strike. Watching this space.

    Good article, btw.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Mystic Ba’al saw something stirring in the crystal ball, evidently:

      One person who was approached to join the fledgling organisation was told Euan Blair was on its board, and his father, the former Labour prime minister, had been helpful in recommending potential donors. Other sources confirmed Euan Blair’s name had been associated with the project.
      The 34-year-old runs a tech startup, WhiteHat
      (qv, passim – BZ), which helps to recruit and place apprentices. He did not respond to requests for a statement.
      One ally said backers of the new party had been “overclaiming” about Blair’s involvement, and he was simply part of a network of socially minded business leaders keen to develop policy ideas.

      Tony Blair denied any direct involvement with the group.

      Which, students of Blair will realise, is equivalent to admitting that the entire resources of TBIfTB have been flung behind POMfUK – the new party – under the nominal control of someone anonymous reporting to Blair.

      Oh, and those ‘potential donors’. Will ‘Lord Cashpoint’ Levy be returning from the Middle East to reprise his performance in 1996-2006? Or ‘Lord’ Mendelsohn (former Holocaust Memorial Trust director). Or will Tony be tapping, say Abdel al-Sisi , the UAE sovereign fund, Mubadala and Paul Kagame in order to ensure that democracy in the UK becomes even more of an international laughing-stock? We bate our breath, and await.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    And we seethat the TBIfTB is advertising for a Governance Advisor (transport) to be embedded in Mozambique. Which begs an interesting question – the usual one, as it happens. Who’s paying for this? There will now be at least three Blair suits, on not inconsiderable money. expenses, accommodation and transport, attached to Mozambique’s bureaucracy. And Mozambique’s flat broke:

    so presumably it isn’t footing the bill.
    While direct aid by international donors to the government has been prudently suspended –

    The UK is one of these donors. However, it continues to fund multilateral agencies (the World Bank and UN) , NGO’s and PSC’s (private sector contractors) working in the country. And ‘governance’ accounts for a healthy tranche of total aid. PSC’s are heavily scrutinised for compliance with their stated objectives, so it is unlikely Tony’s working this seam. His objectives are never specified. But he fits the NGO profile, and has tapped the World Bank for previous projects.
    We don’t think the Blair millions will be depleted by the appointment.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    As it fell out, some reverse ferreting was evident Singapore. Where Mr Blair acknowledged in so many words that Muslim immigration was, after all, a problem in the West:
    Immigration and large-scale migration from the Muslim world is the single biggest driver of EU politics today

    … and that’s why populism. Which is bad, bad, bad.

    We imagine that this was part of the New Blair New Policy statement, that, to quote:
    A strong centrist ™ leadership would speak directly about the uncomfortable truths and address them pragmatically through politics and policy,”
    *The accompanying pic captures the man’s degraded soul quite uncannily)

    The historical record shows that ‘addressing uncomfortable truths pragmatically’, in Blair’s book, means ignoring justified public concerns, making up policy without reference to the Cabinet, plain lying and massive corporatist spin. As witness his determination to preserve free movement of cheap labour in an EU of which the UK remains a member, no matter how many times the electorate is required to vote before the ‘right’…or centre ™ … result is obtained.

    As the bolloxometer backed slightly from 1 megaball/sec, Tony also offered the government of Andhra Pradesh his dubious services in the areas of governance and globalisation ™. Tony is apparently associated with 200 educational institutes in India*, and this was one selling point offered. But we note that Andhra Pradesh is exceptionally rich in a variety of minerals too, and Tony’s known sponsors may find this aspect more interesting.

    But is Naidu a nice centrist or a bad, bad, bad populist, Tony?

    *See also GEMS Education, Sonny Varkey, Laureate Education. Investment note: Education, like health care, is a counter cyclical sector, performing well even in a recession.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The blairing in Belfast on the 10th contained no reference to Mo Mowlem, whose involvement in the tortuous negotiations was crucial, and at the time, well-reported. Blair tended to distance himself from this, increasingly as time went on, and in his usurpation of the credit for many other peoples’ efforts (to say nothing of building his lucrative advisory business on them), Mowlem has been written out of New Labour’s New History of Ireland.

    This has not gone unnoticed:

  • Komodo

    We have no idea where Tony is today – M-ASRI is in New York – but the missus was available for government contracts at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London yesterday. Where she met Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo, but then again, so did Jeremy Corbyn.

    Akufo-Addo is loaded and his younger brother is a near neighbour of the Blairs…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Tony was pressing the flesh with the leaders of mineral-rich African countries at the Commonwealth Heads of Government yesterday. His protege, Paul Kagame, President-until-2035 (at least) of Rwanda, and very likely war criminal, was also on hand in his capacity of head of the African Union, obtained with the adoring support of Blair and Clinton, whose joint project he is. Ghana’s Akufo-Addo records his meeting with Tony, but other heads of government seem more reticent about their audiences with the great man, if any.

    Mildly encouraging to see Blair where he belongs, ‘on the sidelines’. But we wonder whether the event should be open to investment brokers and lobbyists at all. Corruption is a huge problem in many African countries, and this surely sends the wrong message.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    We’ll try the indirect approach to this one. Here’s the Graun having yet another go at Brexit, its Islington perception of the Commonwealth, and, inevitably, Boris Johnson…

    And here’s Tony Blair, canonised and afforded unlimited favourable exposure by the Graun, having (with his wife) schmoozed Ghana’s Akufo-Addo, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, moderating Barrow’s address to Chatham House, during Barrow’s attendance at that same meeting.

    We find this very encouraging. What the Graun has left out of its equation is that the Commonwealth can provide the markets and investment opportunities that the EU cannot. That even hysterical Remoaners like Blair will be providing for their political and financial futures in the event of our actually leaving the EU. And there he is, playing both ends against the middle as usual. Renascent Tony, flogging his Commonwealth connections to any African state mug enough to buy them, exactly as he was flogging the EU in the Balkans.

    Ironic or what?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Weird to find financial genius Tony Blair talking down the Euro. But there he is, back home in the USA doing exactly that.
    The date is highly uncertain. Blair was due to headline TDA’s gig in 2011, but had to be replaced by Colin Powell as Tony had flown to Egypt to help his chum Hosni “Tahrir Square” Mubarak* put down his discontented subjects. And we have as yet found no other reference to the event.
    (TDA is a large Nebraska investment management outfit)
    We can’t play the video, good luck with that.

    * (1)
    * (2)

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Tony’s always been reluctant to let us know where he’s hiding, but you can’t hide a massive property deal. M&G are now the proud owners of TBIfTB Towers, alias 79/82 Great Portland Street, and/or 15/19 Riding House Street. Here, M&G has let 18,100 square feet of shiny new office space to ‘a’ (the) Tony Blair company until 2027, for a very modest £1.2M per annum.

    We need some time to do the sums, but that’s a lorra expensive suits at a lorra desks, with loads more embedded in unwary despots’ governments worldwide. An estimate of the new Blair, Inc’s income may be forthcoming as a result. But a quick eyeball suggests that selling platitudes to Africans and batting for Brussels are very lucrative rackets indeed.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      On the basis of rateable value as a function of rental, Tony’s going to be shelling out £620K a year in business rates. On the basis of floor space, it could be a lot more. We smell chicanery.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The silly season is upon us, and the Mail (prior to the arrival of the latest squalling, incontinent royal) gleefully informs us that the confidant of dictators will not be awarded a knighthood of the Garter this year. Perhaps, speculates the Mail, it’s because Tony doesn’t want it? Or maybe the taint of Iraq still lingers? We think it more likely that Her Maj simply doesn’t like the bugger, or his pushy wife, and there the non-story rests. Though it’s pretty certain that the opacity of his business interests will continue to prevent the ennoblement of Lord Blair of the Blair Institute for Blair.

    Tony should be in Chicago today to receive an award from a local museum….the grandly-named Lincoln Leadership Prize. We feel sure that this will more than compensate him, if not Cherie, for being shunned by the honours system here.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      And damn us, as if we are not already damned, if Paul Kagame wasn’t in Chicago too, yesterday, viewing a film describing Rwanda in the most forgiving terms, and in which he plays the lead role. The viewing was attended by none other than the Consort of Tony Blair, ie Cherie. It’s called, “Rwanda the Royal Tour”, which may presage a self-promotion for Kagame when his current term of office expires in 2035…

      Cherie here:
      Small world. And was that a Qatari Gulfstream we spotted today?

      Nothing back yet from Tony’s award ceremony, but we don’t have to fire up the crystal ball for details of his faux-self-deprecatory acceptance speech which must certainly have mentioned the hatefulness of Brexit and the necessity of total global domination by the likes of JP Morgan. He may have crossed out the passages referring to the evils of populism, the desirability of centrist politics and any mention of his friends the Clintons, however. Wouldn’t want to antagonise the Donald.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        The breadth and depth of the man’s insight are truly staggering. Europe must maintain its vital partnership with the US! (stern leadership face, points both index fingers meaningfully at cameras). Donald duly not antagonised, presumably. Pffft.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          More details of what ‘we’ / ‘you’ / the UK / the EU ‘must’ do may be found in the Cheltenham Weekly News (etc). There is no escape. Fans of Philip K Dick will understand. Instead of Joe Chip’s head mysteriously appearing on coins, it’s Jory’s…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Nothing antis***tic about Centrist Tony Labour, oh, no, Quite the reverse, and never shy of demonstrating the fact.
    Tony and Cherie exposing their teeth for their Chicago friends-

    “The Survivor Stories Experience is unlike anything I have ever seen. We need something like this in Britain. I am so glad that I was able to visit during my time in Chicago.” -Tony Blair

    The resemblance of this statement to a paid celebrity endorsement for a mediocre product is, we are afraid, not accidental. And, btw, we weren’t aware of a shortage of this kind of thing in the UK, even if any evidence existed that the industry has either abolished antis***tism anywhere or prevented a single attempted genocide of anyone in 70 years.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      From the glittering throng of unelected gurus organising our future at Michael “Junk Bond” Milken’s Global ™ Conference comes a hint of the topics on which Tony expatiated today: Iran’s alleged (by Netanyahu) nuclear programme, and the evils of Brexit. The former is curious. It’s almost as if Tony had been briefed long in advance about propagating the very convenient (for Is***l) story that Iran has nuclear capability. Because the story itself was released at about the same time as his homily. The latter is unsurprising, though: if Blair were invited to address the Cub Scouts on the importance of woggles, he’d drag Brexit into that.

      No doubt further details will be available shortly in the Rutland and Stamford Mercury, the Bromley Times and . And at self-congratulatory length on the Website of the Tony Blair Institute for Tony Blair, too.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Mr. Tony’s extremely good friend and logistics facilitator, Naguib Sawiris, is pumping gold:

    Nice story, and as we have previously hinted, confirmed by the pair’s repeated trips to gold-rich African countries (see above, repeatedly). Though the profitability of pump-and-dump cannot be denied. Incidentally, Tony must be due another African trip soon. But perhaps he’ll take a birthday break first?

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Naguib throws some doubt on our understanding of what he’s up to (Twitter):

      Naguib Sawiris
      ‏Verified account @NaguibSawiris
      May 5
      On Gold i you watched the Bloomberg interview you will see that i said that my investments in gold minning company shares is now 50% of my net-worth but i did not say i moved 50% of my current wealth into Gold !!

      Earlier in the thread he links the Bloomberg interview, but today the page, and others like it, give a 404. It is certainly credible that he was referring to gold mining. Still smacks of market manipulation, though, as UAE investors are advised not to overinvest in precious metals, in the wake of the misunderstanding.

      OK, we don’t know where Blair is. Cannes?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    We notice that the process of recruiting splendidly named wonks to the TBIfTB continues. Currently open:

    The opacity of the descriptions only partially obscures the utter futility of the tasks, and the picture which unsurprisingly emerges is of an empire being inflated to generate a fog round its real purposes; brutally describable as taking a cut from aid budgets, selling influence, and meddling in democratic processes (where they exist) both at home and abroad.

    “RTC” in one of the ads – for a ‘Senior Fellow for Education Policy’ – stands for Blair’s ‘Renewing the Centre’ unaccountable lobbying setup. And the intention appears to be this: if the peasants (sadly uneducated even after the brilliant reforms undertaken by the Dear Leader) insist on abandoning the comfortable consensus between global ™ money and politics, and, worse, flock to a populist banner, why, then, they must be re-educated. Sinister. Particularly as neither the empire nor the emperor is accountable to anyone but Tony.

    We offer a review (more if you’re signed up) of the working environment at the TBI. It looks as if the writer associated himself with the empire with the best possible motives, only to find that he was hindered at every turn from fulfilling them. Which suggests that, operationally, little has changed from the two-charities-and-a-dog structure of TBA.:

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Ballpark figures: Glassdoor lists the TBIfTB as having 200 to 500 employees. At the national average wage (UK, 2015), that’s between £5.52 million and £13.8 million annually. (We don’t think the Institute is too heavily dependent on contract cleaners) To the lower end of this, let’s add a notional £2M for the rental and rates on Great Portland Street (see above) a little something for overheads and expenses, National Insurance employer’s contribution, flights round the world for the Dear Leader, as Naguib si not always on hand with his exec jet, and we are looking at something in the region of £9-10M. Roughly what was transferred from TBA to TBI last year, in fact. But, as the Institute is global ™, that would be very far from the whole story. Rumours reach us of another office in non-central London, and there are offices across Africa to be considered.

      Now, we don’t think Tony’s speaking engagements make that much money. Maybe the odd million or two for petty cash. We’d love to see his business plan. Indeed, we’d love to see any clues at all which might indicate that the world aid industry isn’t underwriting….well, what does the TBIfTB actually do?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Ey, chuck, she’s a socialist to ‘er fingertips, innt she?

    Cherie “I have no problem with saying I am a socialist” Blair’s ‘championing change’ at the Intel Capital Global ™ Summit at the Marriot Palm Desert, Palm Springs CA. Now and until tomorrow. Marxist fellow-luminaries include the President and CEO of Intel, and a VP of General Motors, along with neo-Maoist Alan May, Chief People Officer of Hewlett-Packard. Mostly, it seems to be about flogging IT to the unsuspecting, arguably in order to collect their data.

    We wonder if the pair of them have been in CA since last week, and if so with which obscenely wealthy oligarch they celebrated Tony’s birthday.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    We will be all ears for Radio 4’s account, tomorrow, of the kind of apology and settlement Abdul Hakim Belhaj has obtained from HMG in respect of his rendition by the USA and torture in Syria by Gaddafi’s merry men, from 2004 onwards, with what would look very much like HMG’s active collusion were it not that the memories of Messrs. Straw and Blair were somewhat selective on the topic.

    We may wait a while, though, as Radio 4 will still be sympathetically fielding old US neocons to explain why Iran’s nuclear programme will destroy us all within 15 minutes unless the Fifth Cavalry, led by Donald, rides to the rescue. We may even hear Tony’s views on this ( we could find out what they are, as if we couldn’t guess, but all that’s available at present is a video, and the handwaving makes us seasick). If we were Belhaj, we would want an apology, in person, by Blair and Straw, on Radio 4, but that’s not going to happen.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Glancing, appalled, through the gaps between our fingers, at the video, which offers no constructive insight, as expected, we note that Tony’s hair – we charitably assume it’s his – is now sporting a centre ™ parting. This, we feel, is taking the brand message too far. Let’s just call it a bilateral comb-over.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Abdul Hakim Belhaj got his apology, but from May, not from the people responsible for his grotesque and disgusting treatment in the interests of arselicking a mad dictator.

    “The UK government believes your accounts. Neither of you should have been treated this way. The UK government’s actions contributed to your detention, rendition and suffering. The UK government shared information about you with its international partners.”

    IOW, you got us bang to rights, guv. A clear case of misconduct in public office for Tony and Jack to defend?

    Belhaj has consistently said he wasn’t looking for compensation, but his wife gets £500K. To which Tony’s £80K annual pension (before picking up the State retirement pittance) will not be required to contribute, for sure.

    We wonder what the TBIfTB will say about that. It’s been rather silent lately.

    • Komodo

      Fortunately for Tony, his pre-emptive thinkpiece* for the Jewish Chronicle, extolling a nation dear to his and its heart – not the UK – not having been much retweeted, and not having been issued to the regional conglomerates…fortunately for Tony, Tessa Jowell snuffed it shortly after May was compelled to apologise for him.Viz:
      Tony Blair leads tributes to Tessa Jowell: ‘she was always there for me … and the Diana-era *choke, sob* routine on R4’s News at 2200 last night. Always there for you, Tone? Like the tapeworm?

      Meanwhile absolutely sod-all from Tony on his proven culpability in expediting rendition and torture. There is in fact marginally more from Straw, who has indicated that he is prepared to testify to an absolutely secret enquiry whose findings will not be published.

      *coinciding with the apology to Belhaj by May.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    In Tony’s eulogy in the JC, he bravely foresees that the Nabka anniversary demonstrations will require ‘careful handling’ and ‘solid leadership’. Which has more than an echo of his contract to sanitise Nazarbayev’s careful handling and solid leadership in the matter of Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan, 2011:

    Nudge, nudge. Know wot I mean, squire?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Professional Scouser and ‘socialist’ Cherie Blair will be getting down wiv da proles (Really? No) at Liverpool’s Third International Business Festival on June 12th. Billed as a global ™ extravaganza, tens of thousands of visitors from as far away as Formby China are expected to flood into the city in order to admire Cherie and HSBC.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The fix is in.

    “The public interest in understanding Britain’s policy towards Libya is overwhelming,”

    (despite the media having been discouraged from reflecting it?)

    … Ashton said. “It seems extraordinary that the Cabinet Office has resisted my freedom of information request at every turn.”

    Cabinet Office and freedom of information are words rarely found in the same sentence.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    In a spirit of solidarity with the main page, and seeing that Blair isn’t doing much right now beyond indulging his spleen towards Corbyn and the party of which, unaccountably, he remains a member…a reminder of Blair’s protected status on Wikipedia:

    The friendship was raised by Andreas Kolbe, a prolific UK-based Wikipedia contributor and frequent critic of the way the Wikimedia Foundation operates. Mr Wales told him to “please stay off my Talk page”.

    “I’ve had enough of you. I’ll delete anything you post there, and if you persist, I’ll ask others to help delete anything you post there,” he said.

    Mr Wales, who said he was strongly committed to free speech, is due to visit Kazakhstan in 2013 according to Rauan Kenzhekhanuly.

    With excellent results, it seems:

    We don’t know whether Blair is still taking the Nazarbayev tenge – since the restructuring of Blair Inc, there is very little that is known about what is actually done by the company – but we certainly won’t find out on Wikipedia.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Blair’s gloss on the Belhaj rendition is that he knew nothing about it. Must have been busy for weeks, putting the arm on anyone who thought otherwise, and ensuring that the OSA, as always, applies even to his toilet habits. Belhaj’s lawyer, Cori Crider, is sceptical:

    “Mr Blair’s non-apology to Mr Belhaj and his wife raised more questions than it answered,” she said.

    “His hug with Gaddafi happened just two weeks after Belhaj and his wife were delivered to Tripoli, and two days before MI6 helped abduct another entire family for the Libyan dictator.

    Perhaps Mr Blair would like to publish the ‘five requests’ Gaddafi made to him directly in a letter in October 2003 as they sought to strike a deal.

    “Are we meant to believe the dictator never mentioned the ‘stray dogs*’ he hated so much?

    “Both Reprieve and Scotland Yard amassed a mountain of evidence about this case. If the British public want the whole truth and nothing but the truth, let’s have a full public inquiry and be done with it.”

    *As is well known, the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative was hired to consult on hiring a dogcatcher in Tripoli. BP is thought to have funded this.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    An interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria last week is available to the diligent searcher on Youtube. Tony is apparently against ‘polarisation’ and thinks Nigerians and Indians are optimistic about the future (anyone else? Tony wants to hear from you.) If we were looking for a couple of pathologically polarised countries, Nigeria and India would be high on our list. But let it pass. The interview appears to have taken place in Atlanta, Georgia.

    We spotted M-ASRI on the 27th: Luton, Florence, Sierra Leone; returning this morning to Luton. Confirmed by the TBIfTB, though no mention of the aircraft’s owner, antidemocratic Egyptian mining, construction and telecoms oligarch, Naguib Sawiris. No doubt business other than a visit to the Prince of Wales School, Freetown, was on the agenda.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The Grenfell Tower report lays the inadequate response of the emergency services firmly at the door of one Mr. Blair:

    O’Hagan also blames Blair as he writes in the report that under New Labour, half of all fire services within four miles of the tower vanished in five years.

    He also says that the government’s deregulation and the “commercialisation of safety” that came with it, “allowed industry to flout regulations and fake tests and call it normal practice”.

    Anyone expecting the Dear ex-Leader to deign to comment on this, let alone admit his error, is probably misguided. So we’ll do it for him:

    “1. Grenfell Tower was full of WMD’s, and evil.
    2. I won three elections, y’know.
    3. I had no knowledge of the cuts and privatisation. But I’d do them again.
    4. If we leave the EU, every tower block in the country will burn to the ground. This was an awful warning.”

    All editors and John Rentoul. please copy.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    It looks as if Tony was simply dropped off in Africa, and that the pumpkin and white mice will return for him when he’s done. Slightly confusing report here:

    In which Blair and Liberia’s Weah press the flesh and sign the contract. Confusing, because this report refers to the Africa Governance Initiative rather than the TBIfTB, into which it was to have been completely absorbed by the middle of this year. The AGI was a charity: the TBI isn’t. The TBI Twitter puff for the event makes no mention of the AGI.

    This is as near as we have seen to expressing what it is, if anything, that the TBIfTB does for the substantial, probably aid -and investor-funded money which we cannot prove it gets paid, obviously:

    According to President Weah, the AGI capacity building and technical support initiative will provide opportunity for the government to develop plans in the interest of the people of Liberia.
    The Liberian leader who referred to himself as a democrat, expressed commitment to upholding democratic governance in Liberia, and stressed the need for the government to develop achievable programs and projects in the next two years for the people, if the government is to make impressive marks in six years.

    IOW, Tony will dream up stuff to promise to do in order to make Weah electable next time too. Why Weah, with an international footballing background and general good intentions for his country, should have any need for Blair’s involvement, rather defeats us.

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