An Apology 2106


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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2,106 thoughts on “An Apology

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  • Komodo

    DIARY:

    There will be a blairing between 5 to 8 November at the Altice Arena, in Lisbon. It is called the Third Web Summit, and it’s y’know, guys, a technology thing. And technology stuff needs leaders, and I’m a leader, and did I mention we gotta have as many referenda as it takes to stay in the EU with Portugal which is very wonderful and full of great technology investment opportunities?

    https://websummit.com/speakers?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIi-mxuNOf3gIVZrvtCh0UuAbnEAAYASAAEgLvN_D_BwE

    But why does a ‘web summit’ have to be held anywhere? Surely the Web was intended to make all that going-somewhere stuff obsolete? Or is that too technological for you, Tony?

  • Komodo

    Tony won’t be handing back his Saudi bung, it seems. He needs it to pay for new staff at the Institute.

    …Labour MP Lloyd Russell Moyle told BI that Blair’s reluctance to cut his ties to the regime was “absolutely immoral” and made him “complicit in war crimes,” committed by the Saudis in Yemen.

    “If Mr Blair doesn’t see the light and continues to accept money from the Saudis then I think his moral integrity is in ruins,” the MP for Brighton Kemptown told BI.

    He added: “Our own government is reviewing their relationship with Saudi Arabia and if others are not doing the same then they are complicit in war crimes and murder.”

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/tony-blair-resists-keeps-multimillion-saudi-deal-following-khashoggi-murder-2018-10?r=US&IR=T

    But this is a telling ( though blandly routine) response –

    “Tony Blair receives no personal remuneration from the Institute.”

    We might suggest that he is the sole Person with Significant Interest for the nonprofit, and that as his Windrush Ventures legacy operation, designed to conceal cash streams (for whatever reason) is still largely in business, with its cutouts intact, that might be a tiny distortion of the actualite. But we will confine ourselves to the fact, which is that Tony does PR and image massage for a number of nasty customers, and sees nothing wrong with taking money for it, in order to further his connections with other nasty customers. If nothing else.

  • Komodo

    Whoops. We missed Tony celebrating the centenary of Chaim Hertzog at Spencer House. Not sure if this was before or after manifesting in Dudley, but the event endorsed the interesting notion that Zionism isn’t racism. And what Tony may have said on the subject was not mentioned by Times of Xrael, perhaps because, incredibly, he is not yet Xewish. We can be certain that Herzog was marvellous, Xrael is terrific and probably there is still time to scupper Brexit.

    https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/chaim-herzog-honoured-as-a-warrior-and-statesman-at-event-for-100th-birthday/

  • defo

    Truly heroic work Ba’al.
    The screams of his victims aren’t unheard.
    Much, if not most of the ill’s which befall our wee planet can be distilled down, and give off the stink of Blair-world.

  • Komodo

    Our fellow-fans of Blair may enjoy this:

    The Ex-Ministers

    They rise above us, the ex-ministers,
    in private jets, left wing, right wing, drop low
    to Beijing, Kuwait, the Congo, Kazakhstan;
    their deals and contracts in the old red boxes, for sentimental reasons.

    Beyond our shores, they float on superyachts, Nostrovia!,
    guests of the mortal gods; the vague moon a Bitcoin.
    We are nothing to them now; lemmings
    going over the white cliffs of Dover.

    And when they are here, they are unseen;
    chauffeured in blacked-out cars to the bars
    in the heavens – far, glittering shards – to look down on our lucrative democracy.

    Though they have bought the same face,

    so they will know each other.

    “The Ex-Ministers” : Carol Ann Duffy.

  • Komodo

    No reports yet on the Yeshiva Beth Yehuda’ fundraiser in Detroit yesterday, where ‘Prime Minister’ (sic, YBY website….not ‘ex -PM’) Tony Blair would no doubt have assured his audience of the beauty of Detroit, his abhorrence of Iran and, to their probable bafflement, the undesirability of Brexit. We attribute the silence to the rapidly enhanced security precautions taken in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh shooting, but unworthily wonder if Blair made it at all to the sold-out event. If he did, he wasn’t taking too many chances.

    Nice reveal here:

    ….extensive security for the annual Yeshiva Beth Yehudah fundraising dinner Sunday night was being bolstered with additional resources….

    This year’s planned speaker was former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the annual dinner was expected to draw 2,500 members of the Jewish and general communities to Detroit’s Marriot Hotel in the Renaissance Center. Along with the Detroit Police Department, FBI, Marriott and General Motors Security, Scotland Yard was expected to send four agents.

    https://thejewishnews.com/2018/10/28/jewish-institutions-to-re-evaluate-and-bolster-security-after-pittsburgh-shootings/

    FOUR ‘agents’? We hope the good congregants of the Detroit yeshiva were paying for that. But we can be sure they weren’t.

    • Komodo

      A single tweet from an attendee confirms the Presence of Tony Blair. None of the attached photos show him mingling with or gurning at the guests, and the Institute for Tony Blair is silent on the event too. Not even a selfie.

  • Komodo

    Tony’s had another inspiration! The EU and US should co-operate on technology! Well not all of technology, obviously. Just the bit that doesn’t involve spanners, y’know, online ‘n stuff. The alliance would regulate technology and set ethical standards. OK, Tony’s conception of ‘ethical’ is a little loose (see above, ad infinitum) but there are some good twitterbites there and we expect to see more of this initiative. In today’s Scotsman, c&p’d from the Institute for Blair. Not much has happened in Scotland today, evidently.

    In other news, The European Council for Tolerance and Reconciliation (chairman ACL Blair) last week proposed that yet more legislation was required to suppress nasty peoples’ views. Its perpetrator, Moshe Kantor, whose main interests lie in Russia and Xrael, not Europe, proposed:

    “We urgently need new thinking for a diverse society, accepted not only by leaders of the free world but also by civil society. This new thinking must trigger new legal initiatives – outlawing not only extremist acts, but also verbal intentions”.

    http://www.nbcrightnow.com/story/39383878/1-million-euro-ectr-kantor-prize-for-secure-tolerance-attracting-strong-interest-from-european-north-american-academics

    The two stories may be summarised together. Technology will revolutionise prolefeed, discourage thoughtcrime and detect facecrime. A telescreen in every room!*

    * Some words from George Orwell, 1984

  • Komodo

    We learned belatedly that the ‘secret guest’ on the agenda something called ‘Wired Live’ (Bankside, London) was none other than Blair, now in full cry after his current enthusiasm, ‘technology’. ‘Redesigning government for the digital age’ was the title of the blairing, in which we have no doubt that technology was wonderful, you guys were great and that a redesigned government would have no place for Old Labour or populists other than the Peoples’ Digital Tone. Oh, and Brexit.

    The theme of the whole would seem to be ‘Get used to it, little people, but if you’re not, we intend to know.’

    https://cnda.condenast.co.uk/wired/WIRED%202018/Live/WIREDLive2018DelegateBook_Online.pdf

    Why, though, the ‘secret guest’? Security? Has his paranoia reached the point where it overcomes his incessant desire for publicity? If so, how very encouraging. Or maybe he is just too toxic to headline events any more.

  • Komodo

    Something of a non-story, but a welcome confirmation that the benefits system is working for some, at least:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tony-blair-one-million-taxpayer-claim-public-duty-cost-allowance-prime-minister-cabinet-office-a8616731.html

    Anyone capable of simple multiplication could have worked this out, as what ex-PM’s are paid by us to carry out work in our name is a matter of public record. And no doubt Blair (and the rest) can provide receipts for the relatively small proportion of their activities which qualifies, although, as the article states, this information is secret.

    But Blair has cost us a damn sight more than a million or so since he left office. Four Met officers are believed to have accompanied on a recent trip to Detroit; he is rarely if ever seen in public without two protection officers, and both his London property and his country mansion are reportedly guarded 24/7 by policemen. It would be ludicrous to believe that £115,000 a year covers Blair’s protection squad’s wages, let alone travel (when millionaire chums aren’t providing this free) and its hotel accommodation, often in top-range hotels.

    And the vast majority of this cost to the UK of Blair is emphatically not spent to support whatever it is – we don’t know what it is – that he does on the UK’s behalf. Blair acts as a distribution point between international aid donors, global speculators, foreign investment funds and corrupt regimes. His current media output is actively hostile to current UK policy with respect to Europe. He is a rabid globaliser, and he abhors the idea of national barriers to unrestricted exploitation. The bottom line, rather than the interests of his country, is what motivates Blair; that and his fantastic self-perception as a world leader without portfolio. To which fantasy, the UK is peripheral.

  • Komodo

    Further indications of paranoia – the schedule for the Web Summit in Lisbon this week is searchable by keyword. Although the main page for the event lists Tony as a speaker (if rather well down the page), searching for ‘Tony Blair’, ‘Blair’ and ‘Prime Minister’ in the schedule -not linked to the main page – fail to reveal the time, location or content of the threatened blairing.

    M-ASRI returned to Luton (having left on Wednesday last) last night after a weekend in Sharm-el-Sheikh, where Sisi and presumably a Sawiris or two attended something called a World Youth Conference. Oddly, the local media report the latest anti-Brexit effusion of Blair’s, published on Sunday in the Observer, which we would have thought would have been of vanishing interest to the Egyptian public.Other, perhaps, than to suggest to the credulous that the Tony Blair spotted on a Sharm beach couldn’t possibly have been him as he was at that moment penning a thinkpiece for the Observer in London. We like this idea.

    Blair’s next known engagement is in Mexico City, on the 9th.

    • Komodo

      Diario de Noticias has Blair a long way down the list of Web Summit speakers, for most of whom the time of their appearance is given. But not Blair. Today it is still ‘unknown’ when He will manifest himself.

  • Komodo

    Another chicken coming home to roost, despite a pre-emptive volley from the Institute for Tony Blair (press release, local media editors with space to fill)
    It begins:

    John Downey’s collapsed trial for the Hyde Park bomb murders triggered a major political controversy over the until then little known On the Run scheme.
    The OTR scheme was set up by Tony Blair’s Labour government in 2000 in response to Sinn Fein lobbying for republicans who had fled the UK during the Troubles and were unsure whether they were wanted by the police.

    https://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/national/17203143.major-political-controversy-over-on-the-run-scheme/

    The Authorised Version from the TBIfTB goes on to explain how extremely lawful this was and how it really didn’t imply that the IRA members given letters were immune from prosecution at all. An OTR letter simply meant, y’know, that the fugitive wasn’t wanted at the time. An amnesty? Certainly not!

    Except that the introduction of OTR letters was just a little more complicated than that, and was pushed through in spite of legal advice:

    Mr Blair wrote to Mr Adams: “I can confirm that, if you can provide details of a number of cases involving people ‘on the run’ we will arrange for them to be considered by the attorney general, consulting the director of public prosecutions and the police, as appropriate with a view to giving a response within a month if at all possible.”

    …Senior legal figures were not happy. The then attorney general wrote to Secretary of State Peter Mandelson saying he was “seriously concerned” that the scheme could severely undermine confidence in the criminal justice system.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-26360038

    While the Downey case, which has brought OTR letters back into the spotlight this week, seems to have been a cockup from start to finish – the start having been the ambiguous drafting of the original procedure (despite legal advice) to require only a check of PSNI records without considering that other UK police forces might also have an informed interest in the fugitive.

    Such cavalier unconcern for detail and blindness to the possible consequences is of course what we have come to expect from Blair and, in this case, Mandelson. Apologiae in the regional press notwithstanding.

  • Komodo

    Update:

    Tony will be dusting off the ‘Tony Blair In Conversation’ script, which we haven’t heard for a while, at the Web Summit in Lisbon at 12.35 local time. On the centre stage – where else? (Probably offering more originality and certainly less orange and wrinkled, Sophie the Robot will be mingling with the nerdocrats throughout the event.)

    https://websummit.com/schedule

    ‘Technology’ (ie making ever more trivial and less necessary gadgets for the masses) is y’know, so cool, guys….We are still wondering what happened to Tony’s formerly equal enthusiasm for mitigating climate change, which was dead by 2011. But, obviously, ‘technology’ doesn’t make you enemies in the oil business (on which you might be rather reliant), and it doesn’t threaten global overproduction either.

  • Komodo

    Blairing at some Mexican businessmen last week, Mr. Tony opined that as governments are elected to make decisions they should do so (having been safely installed) without reference to the will of the people who elected them, let alone those who didn’t. It appears to have been a tirade against populism, as much as anything. Poor Tony. His contentious presence at the Cenotaph continues to remind us of a major objection to his interpretation of democracy: that an elected government (elected, Tony, on a populist backlash) unfettered by any consideration of what the governed may want, can make truly catastrophic decisions…. and keep on digging.

    http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/cartera/mala-idea-consulta-sobre-temas-complejos-tony-blair

  • Komodo

    CAGE may not be the cuddliest of Muslim bunnies, but it makes some very valid points about the Blair Institute for Blair:

    https://www.cage.ngo/blairs-role-in-the-counter-extremism-sector-is-normalising-abuse-and-risks-endangering-british-activists

    Notably:

    Questions must also be asked of the British government as to whether it is aware of any British citizens and activists whose names have been provided to the Saudi government, and whether Blair, his Institute and his links to the McKinsey Mob, was instrumental in this.

    We are moving into a realm where not only the word “terrorism”, but now the even vaguer term of “extremism” is being used to crush criticism and police beliefs, even if this means allowing serious abuse and even possible crimes to take place abroad.

    Certainly it appears to entail leading figures on the counter-extremism sector like Tony Blair – who now has a representative on the ‘expert group’ at the Committee for Countering Extremism in Britain – refusing to clamp down on despots who adopt this narrative.

    Quite so. We heard the neocons Paul Wolfowitz and Tony Blair on Radio 4 this week. They had been wheeled in to elaborate on the theme that populism is bad because it leads to dictators. Some dictators were named, but not Saudi’s MBS, (inherited) Egypt’s Sisi (military coup) or Rwanda’s very slippery president-for-life Kagame (rigged election). All advised by Tony.

  • Komodo

    On the 14th, presumably under conditions of extreme secrecy, Blair infiltrated King’s College London to deliver the standard blairing. The effect of a plausible charlatan on a young and naive audience is distressingly documented in the comments allegedly made afterwards…or some of them. The others did not appear…

    https://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/politicaleconomy/newsevents/newsrecords/tony-blair-%27progressive-politics-in-an-era-of-populism%27.aspx

    We despair of the young. Or some of them.

  • Komodo

    Tony was reportedly in Lome, yesterday:
    http://togopresse.tg/programme-national-de-developpement-lancien-premier-ministre-tony-blair-recu-en-audience-par-le-chef-de-letat/

    Usual guff…Togo is great, national development, foreign investors such as, say, Tony, your Arab chums or JPM?

    Faure Gnassingbe, the President of Togo, inherited the job from his old Dad, and has done a classical ‘plausible-rigging’ job on the elections he has held in order to remain in post since 2005.

    Air Sawiris did not transport the governance expert to Togo.

  • Komodo

    Yesterday in LIberia, pressing George Weah’s flesh. It’s a bit early to assess Weah, elected this year, but he appears to mean well and (so far) to be honest. Which makes him something of an exception in the Blair Rolodex. But not all Weah’s ministers are immune from temptation, and Liberia is desperately cash-strapped, The privatising, globalising, sovereignty-denying Blair formula must seem very appealing. Not least to Blair, whose business can only benefit.

    https://www.emansion.gov.lr/2press.php?news_id=4724&related=7&pg=sp

    From Tony’s amanuensis in Project Syndicate, we learned that free movement of people and single markets, just like the EU, are wot you African guys, y’know, need. He doesn’t seem to envisage the inevitable rise of violent populist resistance to these – nothing like that could possibly happen in Africa! Nor does he envisage a huge, strangulating and overpaid bureaucracy…oh, just a minute. That’s the TBIfTB’s destiny calling, isn’t it? We learned also that LNG is in some sense not a liquid fuel, and that’s wot you African guys gotta use because, er climate change. Sole mention of climate change, there. Christ on a bike.

    https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/west-africa-regional-electricity-market-by-tony-blair-2018-11

  • Komodo

    To Guinea, and a cosy chat with Alpha Conde, strongly suspected of rigging the 2013 and 2015 elections.

    https://mosaiqueguinee.com/index.php/2018/11/24/lancien-premier-ministre-britannique-tony-blair-recu-par-alpha-conde/

    (as well as some dodgy dealing with Rio Tinto re the Simandou iron mine – see also –
    http://www.mining.com/uk-serious-fraud-office-launches-probe-rio-tinto-simandou/ )

    Tony is connu pour être très proche to Conde. Pourqoi? (fade to sepia, harp arpeggio)

    https://www.pressreader.com/uk/daily-mail/20180217/282153586752220

    Dear old friends.

  • Komodo

    Still catching up on last week’s Blair Miles, which took him to Ghana on Wednesday:

    https://twitter.com/InstituteGC/status/1065281774773784578

    In which we learn that Blair ‘supports’ the carbon-intensive air transport of products grown on cleared forest land to Western niche markets. What form that support takes is never made clear, but the Blair business model suggests that he’s getting a cut of an investment fund somewhere.

    We would echo ‘Mr Smith’s’ comment, but we don’t think Ghana deserves the fate he suggests..

  • Komodo

    Another whistlestop last week: we didn’t think he’d miss Sierra Leone.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dsral3pXoAAa0w4.jpg

    Technology and Innovation, eh? He means information technology, of course, and that means little illuminated boxes and the phone networks which feed them. Just so happens Tony’s married to a saleswoman for these, and is a frequent flyer courtesy of another telecoms mogul. Innovation presumably refers to doing sod-all to redirect the UK economy from its heavy dependence on service industries when he had the chance…

  • Komodo

    And the issue of compensation for the victims of Libyan-supplied IRA violence continues to be unresolved:

    https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/libya-ira-terror-claims-that-investments-in-uk-settled-compensation-for-victims-rejected-1-8720082

    “the file of the relationship of the former Libyan regime with the IRA has already been addressed between the two governments”. The council added that Libya has “cooperated with the British government to close this file … that was the base of great variable Libyan investments existed in Britain”.

    The Libyan embassy said it was unable to clarify what the investments were that it made in the UK. The UK’s Department of International Trade also said Libya could not disclose the details of such investments as this would be “commercially sensitive” information.

    An inquiry to former prime minister Tony Blair also drew a blank: “We have no knowledge of what they’re talking about,” a spokeswoman said.

    Someone’s lying. Or maybe the Blair Institute for Blair would be devoting some of its substantial resources to clearing someone’s name.

    The NI Affairs Committee also expresses scepticism. And it isn’t done yet:

    https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/northern-ireland-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2017/ira-semtex-chairs-statement-17-19/

  • Komodo

    We pay relatively little attention to Blair’s ongoing attempt to construct a new New ™ world order, with the Dear Leader at its helm: advertisements for staff willing to meddle in the affairs of foreign governments on behalf of the Institute for Tony Blair appear almost daily, often on charity jobs sites – the TBIfTB is not a charity. But this one caught our eye as it appears that some Serbians are not altogether happy about being ‘advised’ by the straight kinda guy who, y’know, bombed their country.

    http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/tony-blair-institute-seeking-advisor-for-the-serbian-government-12-03-2018

    BIRN is perhaps in error, incidentally, in accepting the Spokesperson For Tony Blair’s statement that Blair has disconnected from Albania.
    The attraction of both countries to the shady manipulator is rooted in their desire to join the EU. Also, Blair’s involvement in the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline must necessarily involve a close relationship with Blair’s old chum Edi Rama.

    It’s a tricky area to navigate, though. As Serbia dreams of assimilating Kosovo, while Kosovo’s’s opposition Vetëvendosje party hankers for unification with Albania, with a probable majority of Kosovars preferring to remain independent, we feel that Tony is practically certain of being on the wrong side. And, simultaneously, the right one: that is his particular skill.

    https://www.telegraf.rs/english/3010549-he-introduced-100-taxes-to-serbia-and-now-he-is-laughing-to-our-face-kosovo-minister-published-a-selfie-with-rama-and-he-wrote-100-photo

  • Komodo

    We suspected the fix was in when Tony abandoned the little people of Sedgefield and Westminster to find fame and fortune, well, fortune, in the big wide world, Here it is:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6476359/Tony-Blair-personally-told-government-details-lucrative-post-No-10-work-secret.html

    More appalling when it is remembered that Tony’s USP has always and invariably been that as the ex-PM of the UK he has special access to influential people and sensitive information solely as a result of his having held office.

    We feel a prosecution under the OSA should at least be considered. And that much more information on what exactly it is that Blair has been selling should be made available.

    • Komodo

      Further to this, and unreported by the Mail, Il Giornale indicates that Blair is currently subject to an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards on this one:

      Nonostante le precisazioni fornite dall’entourage dell’esponente della sinistra britannica, il Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, l’organo incaricato di investigare sui conflitti di interesse attribuibili agli ex esponenti delle istituzioni, ha comunque disposto “accertamenti” a carico dell’ex inquilino del numero 10 di Downing Street.

      Il Giornale cites the Telegraph (paywall) as the source of its article.

  • Komodo

    Big silver bird (M-USIK: Sawiris Air 2) arrived at Nairobi early on Friday morning, and so by extreme coincidence did Blair. Think it’s this hugathon with the voterigging Kenyatta –

    https://www.supernewsworld.com/Former-British-Premier-Blair-Pays-President-Kenyatta-Courtesy-Call-7425202.html

    And so to Addis on Sunday for more hugs with Abiy Ahmed who succeeded without the inconvenience of a general election to his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn – himself forced to leave the country during a wave of civil unrest the day after a previous visit by Blair. Abiy is a fanatical privatiser and globaliser, which may well lead to further problems, we feel.

    http://arif7.com/pm-abiy-tony-blair-visit-development-projects-in-bale/

  • Komodo

    Addis to Kigali for 1500 UTC Sunday. We haven’t seen President For The Foreseeable Future Kagame for a while…currently climbing over Ethiopia on a NE track.

    • Komodo

      In Rwanda, Tony Presented A Report by the Tony Blair Institute for Global (Spare) Change (Please, mate?) which indicated that as the population of Eastern Africa was projected to double in the next 25 years, 125 million jobs would need to be created. It hardly needs an expensive think tank to come up with this insight, nor with the rather more uncomfortable insight that Eastern Africa cannot possibly sustain an increase of this magnitude in its population, even if every new human is employed as a barista or flower-picker: that what is urgently needed, here exactly as everywhere else, is a brake on human procreation. But Tony doesn’t do difficult.

      The expat Rwanda opposition outlet, the Rwandan does, though. Emphatically.

      http://www.therwandan.com/kagame-governments-own-report-says-kigali-city-is-an-environmental-disaster/

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