Although I promised time and again that I would refrain from writing about Tony Blair, I seem unable to restrain myself from falling into the temptation of going back on my resolution. He is, to me, like a red rag to a bull.
Last week in an interview with Bloomberg Markets magazine, he claimed he might still be prime minister if he had not given way to Gordon Brown. He said the outcome of the 2010 election would have been tighter than it was, if he had remained Labour leader; in other words, suggesting that he would have fared better than Mr Brown. He added that he would have given David Cameron ‘a run for his money’; however, he conceded that Labour might still have struggled to win outright victory, inferring that he could have won enough seats to lead a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
Mr Blair stepped down in 2007 following years of bitter feuding with Mr Brown and the loss of his popularity is due to his highly controversial decision to lead Britain to war in Iraq.
For once, I believe his assertions that had he remained Labour leader he would certainly have given David Cameron a hard time – to the point where he would probably have remained PM one way or another. Whatever his enemies might say – and I am one of them – he has the gift of the gab, is a shrewd political operator who will stop at nothing to achieve his aims, and possesses a moral philosophy, abhorrent as it may seem, but lethally effective in political terms.
Despite his incessant crossing of the line and his claims to the contrary, he uses his political knowhow and his ci-devant connections to feather his own nest. Nevertheless, he remains a formidable figure on the world stage to be carefully watched and not to be written off.
In the same interview, Mr Blair admitted that he would have jumped at the chance of becoming President of the EU. His bid is thought to have been thwarted by Angela Merkel because of the Iraq controversy.
Since leaving office as PM Mr Blair is thought to have accumulated a fortune in excess of £60 million by working for notorious dictators such as Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev whose regime stands accused of human rights abuses.
To such criticisms Mr Blair retorts: ‘I don’t dismiss the human rights stuff at all. These are points we make. There’s a whole new generation of administrators there who are reformers and we’re working with them.’
Mr Blair is certainly unstoppable. He is slippery, pretends to be religiously driven through his faith and never fails to paint himself whiter than white.
The devil who is presumably an operator of great skill would raise his hat to Tony, for there is so much he can learn from him.