Tony Blair, still very expensive for British taxpayers

This 17 August 2010 video is called Tony Blair’s Blood Money.

Today, another article about Tony Blair. By Patrick Wintour, the political editor of daily The Guardian in Britain. Mr Wintour is usually uncritical rather than critical about Tony Blair. However, do we see signs now of the Blairite ship so obviously sinking that even ‘rat’ Wintour is leaving it?

Patrick Wintour writes:

Tony Blair’s police protection costs taxpayers millions, report claims

Former prime minister also allegedly mixes official envoy role and private business, says Daily Telegraph investigation

Friday 12 June 2015 12.28 BST

Tony Blair is reportedly costing the taxpayer millions of pounds a year in police protection, as well as allegedly blurring the line between his work as a Middle East … envoy and his business interests.

Blair requires as many as 12 police protection officers due to his former role as prime minister and his advocacy of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, it is claimed in a Daily Telegraph investigation published on Friday.

Documents seen by the Telegraph allegedly show that Blair sometimes visits up to five countries a week, at a potential cost of between £14,000 and £16,000 to the public purse. The paper reported that each of the 12 officers was likely to be earning at least £56,000 but could earn more than £70,000 due to the overtime they accumulate on foreign trips.

In 2010 the Mail on Sunday reported that the cost of Blair’s diplomatic protection was £250,000 a year, double the cost for [then until very recently Prime Minster] Gordon Brown. The Home Office oversees the cost of police protection for former prime ministers, and there have been previous calls by Tory MPs for Blair to make a larger contribution towards the cost of his protection.

The Telegraph inquiry suggests that when he flies on private jets, Blair does not ask for the taxpayer to foot the bill, but if he is abroad as many as eight police protection officers accompany him.

Blair has repeatedly defended his luxury globe-trotting, arguing that his lifestyle is no more lavish than that of other diplomats.

He is standing down as Middle East envoy, where his role trying to build the Palestinian economy has been circumscribed by the failure of efforts to secure a wider peace settlement in Israel and Palestine …

Blair is to take on a new role tackling antisemitism as chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, which campaigns for stronger laws against extremism across the continent.

Tackling anti-Semitism is a worthy cause; which deserves worthy people presiding over it.

Another worthy cause is saving children. The organisation Save the Children had a good reputation in this. Until they let in homophobia. Until they let in acolytes of Tony Blair. Who then gave Tony Blair an undeserved Save the Children award.

Which child has Tony Blair ever saved?

Certainly not murdered British girl Milly Dowler. When it turned out that the Rupert Murdoch empire had hacked Milly Dowler’s phone, Tony Blair helped ‘saving’ the Murdoch empire.

The only children where Tony Blair has ever done anything positive for are the children of phone hacker-in-chief Rupert Murdoch (for whom Blair became godfather; that was before Tony and Rupert quarreled about Murdoch’s ex-wife). Save the Children’s reputation suffered from this.

Likewise, any organisation claiming to fight the good fight against anti-Semitic bigotry should not let in someone with a reputation as a war criminal, and as a money grabber. Someone who aided and abetted homophobia, xenophobia and Islamophobia during his time as Prime Minister. The fight against anti-Semitism should not be damaged by appointing Tony Blair of all people.

Ironically, the latest accusations come amid fresh efforts to rehabilitate the Blair government’s reputation in the Labour party after several years in which it was consistently criticised by Ed Miliband’s team. One shadow cabinet member said: “We have got to stop treating the politics of a man that won us three elections like he is dirt.”

However, the consistent reports about his lavish lifestyle and the opaque nature of his business empire make it harder for those that support his politics to get a hearing.

The latest report suggests:

  • Blair stays with his entourage in five-star hotels around the world, with each room for his police bodyguards costing the taxpayer an estimated £1,000 on multi-leg trips.
  • The former prime minister travels on a series of private jets, in some cases loaned by clients and governments.
  • Blair secured a £1m private contract with the World Bank, while simultaneously working with the World Bank in his role at Middle East envoy.
  • He struck lucrative commercial deals with Abu Dhabi while also in negotiations with the emirate as Middle East envoy over $45m (£29m) funding for the Palestinian Authority.
  • Blair’s team has sought assistance from British officials to further his private business interests, including briefings on countries including Canada, Albania and Macedonia.

In several cases the influential figures Blair meets on private business trips are the same people who are his contacts in his official role as envoy.

10 thoughts on “Tony Blair, still very expensive for British taxpayers

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