"Am I therefore become your enemy,because I TELL YOU THE TRUTH...?"
(Galatians 4:16)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Inside the shadowy (and very lucrative) world of Blair Inc: How the ex-PM has become a one-man multinational money-making machine

So, as the job of European President apparently recedes from Tony Blair's grasp, should we feel sorry for our former prime minister, sitting at home watching his dreams of returning to the world stage turn to ashes?
Perhaps not. In fact, there is every reason to believe that Mr Blair might be rather relieved if he doesn't have to go to Brussels, because taking the job would have meant renouncing his current role as a one-man multinational money-making machine.
If you were to take Mr Blair's activities at his own evaluation, you would believe he divides his time between trying to save the world in the Middle East as the representative to that troubled region from the UN, the U.S., Europe and Russia; running his own faith and sports foundations in London; and organising various other charitable endeavours.
But the truth is a lot more complicated - and vastly more lucrative - than that.
At a conservative estimate, he has made £15million from his commercial activities since stepping down as prime minister in 2007, and there is every sign that his earning capacity is increasing.
He remains in demand as a £100,000-a-time international speaker, he has contracts to provide advice with several banking institutions, he is writing his memoirs, and he has established Tony Blair Associates (TBA) to provide advice to foreign governments for money.
There is nothing wrong with all this - except that he is pursuing his commercial interests so closely in tandem with his charitable work and job as an envoy to the Middle East that it is hard to see where the not-for-profit element ends and his own personal bank account begins.
As a friend told the Financial Times, 'if Mr Blair emerged from a meeting with an Arab emir having won a donation to the Palestinians, a donation to the Tony Blair faith foundation, and a consultancy fee, that would be a "good trip".'
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