Ex-Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, notoriously, is a very rich man. He is also an adviser to various Middle Eastern and central Asian dictators, while pursuing a formal Quartet role as “Middle East peace envoy,” a grotesque misnomer in which his support for Israel’s decades-long violent denial of a Palestinian state is half-camouflaged by code words such as “restraint by both sides please.”
He has shrugged off the flagrant conflict of interest between his advisory and ambassadorial functions despite mounting condemnation, while performing extra tricks as a self-appointed spokesperson-and-egger-on-extraordinary for Western imperialism.
Twenty years ago, on July 21 1994, he was elected as the fresh faced leader of a “modernising” Labour Party. Prime minister from May 1997, he resigned 10 years later, after much reluctance, in favour of chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown. His role as deceiver-in-chief in the run-up to the Iraq war, in which he used the dodgy dossier on Iraq’s non-existent WMDs to provide a sham justification for war, has seen him long since renamed as “Bliar.”
His interminable memoir A Journey (2010), much seen these days in charity shops, is notable for superficiality and self-justification. It is awash with gushing rhetoric and an ego-riding high. He declares brashly at the outset: “I won three general elections,” then mentions in passing the role of others “who felt the same as I do,” as if Labour’s voters were universally mesmerised by the personality and policies of the party’s leader.