(16c) Mr Tony Blair: The present - And what about the future?

Although I never recognised Tony Blair as a real socialist but more as someone in the middle, he is starting to move too far in the wrong direction because of his worship of the powerful. Ones he saw the ugly head of wealth and power, he started to change and as long as he refuses to acknowledge this he cannot correct himself and may move further in that direction, away from the people who ones admired him. If only he stopped praising those who bankrupted the world and oppress others. Indeed, one can be happy for people who are successful in life but not for people who make 'mistakes' and continue making these 'mistakes' because they benefit from their 'errors' and aren't punished for making them, while they refuse to accept they should change their own behaviour instead of always blaming others who have much less and demand others behave well such as paying taxes or they should be punished. And his job as adviser for what others call dictators is quite questionable, even when it may moderate them a little as they continue to hold onto their own power while even refuse ideas by others. But they also subsidise his charities and thus can have a good feeling. As a result, many ignore him now, even when some of his advises are correct while in the end he may fall together with those he advises.

And thus, I hope Mr Blair will stop praising the wealthy who make themselves richer at the expense of ordinary people. I hope he will listen again to those working in the field who experience what is wrong and work with them on solutions, even listen to their advice and not always want to give advise. I hope he realises solutions are not by giving more powers to the powerful who exploit the poor. I hope he will acknowledge that too much money corrupts and thus that he should moderate his own lifestyle so he understands again how ordinary people sometimes struggle and therefore can behave stupidly. But I acknowledge that he uses some of his money for his charities to try to improve the conditions for others although because of his other activities people continue to distrust him.

I understand returning back to a normal life is difficult as long as people continue blaming him for the civil unrest in Iraq (and what would have come one day even without invasion as happened in Syria, Egypt, Libya and other places where people are fed-up with the ruling classes). Because I can imagine that after years of people protest whereby people even want to arrest you in restaurants because you destroyed a dictator, you may become angry with people always blaming you for either doing nothing when dictators kill thousands of their own people or for acting to stop a dictator who killed people but what resulted in instability in the region. It is quite impressive that after all those years, Mr Blair is still able to discuss why he went to Iraq, although sometimes one can hear the irritation in his voice. But as long as he remains in the spotlights and advises questionable leaders, people will continue targeting him (but if politics are a passion then it is difficult not to comment).

I also hope he will not move further towards one specific religion, certainly if he wants to continue to be the Middle East Peace Envoy for the powers in the world and continue his Faith Foundation. Indeed, one can be religious but this should be a private matter while talking about being part of one religion is difficult to combine with a function that needs to solve differences between three major religions unless it is to explain errors in the (own) religion (and not only in someone else religion) while highlight the many positive similarities so people can unite as humans although I acknowledge that you try to achieve this via your Faith Foundation. I hope Mr Blair will remain faithful to his believes that everyone should have a chance in life, whatever someones gender, sexuality, religion and financial status and that he will continue to preach the beauty of diversity while remember the words of his ones adviser Alistair Darling that politicians (or diplomats) don't do (their own) religion in public. Already diplomats are starting to say he should resign as Middle East peace envoy because he is making a solution even more difficult as people continue to blame him for Iraq but maybe also because he speaks too much about radical Islam but too little about radical Christianity and thus divides. Maybe he can continue his private work of getting richer by advising certain leaders without his official task to find solutions for a region where many don't want a solution.

As my previous posts show, in general I always had great sympathy for Mr Blair and even when one may disagree with certain of his decisions, there are many others to remember. Thus, I hope he will retire before becoming an obstacle to peace. I think if he wants to continue his mission as Peace Envoy he should be neutral. Indeed, one can't serve two masters and to avoid being called a hypocrite he may need to choose: either he gets richer by advising the powerful such as the presidents of Kazakhstan and Egypt (for which he receives lots of criticism) or editors of corrupt newspapers (although not found guilty), or he becomes a civil servant who is accountable to the UN, EU, Russia and USA and who tries to find a solution as a neutral diplomat so that people don't have the impression he favours the side of the powerful. But the latter may be impossible as he was and continues to divide (still mainly in the West) as also David Blunkett (ones minister under PM Blair) admits and thus the best solution may be that he enjoys the money he earned and travels the world or helps people in developing countries in their efforts to have a better life at a local level. But helping or expressing support to the leaders of above mentioned (and other) countries or corrupt business people will result in Mr Blair's reputation becomes even more questionable.

Because Mr Blair's tragedy is that he is still quite young but certainly ambitious and wants to be heard and known as the person who saved people from either wars and dictators or religious fundamentalists by starting wars or supporting dictators. As I discussed before, I can even understand his reasoning as military interventions are sometimes necessary to prevent worse. The article also suggest that PM Blair even wanted to invade Zimbabwe, something the former South Africa president Thabo Mbeki rightly opposed. Indeed, President Mugabe, not the nicest person, decided to redistribute the land owned by a few white people amongst black people. It was a decision of that country and although white people didn't like his decision, he took that decision because in the past the white took the land (and even the freedom) from the original inhabitants and refused to return it. As a result of Mugabe's decision, white countries decided it was time to punish the country by imposing an embargo so the country further impoverished. As former President Mbeki said, it is the Zimbabweans who have to decide whether to get rid of their president, not the old colonial powers although it is our right to impose an embargo on the country as well as an embargo on other countries that continue to support Zimbabwe although without us forcing other countries to impose an embargo because maybe we are wrong. In doing so, each country can act according to its own conscience and thus other African (and other) countries continued doing business with Zimbabwe. But imposing an embargo may also mean that refugees that flee the country are welcome in country that believes an embargo is necessary. But, interventions can have the result that some countries force their will (to do good) on other countries while this 'good' may itself be wrong when people oppose it or when we support oppressive regimes to prevent the 'wrong' people gaining power (such as in Chile where the West supported that dictator Pinochet took power and murdered many of his supposed Communist opponents including the democratically elected president). Because often we keep dictators in power so our own economy can flourish while others suffer instead of defending our believes, even when that may hurt our own economy.

And people understand very well when interventions can be useful: just like Mr Blair defends an intervention to stop Isis, also many ordinary people defend this as Isis is monstrous (equally for Boko Haram) and kills and should be stopped before they grow too powerful. But because Mr Blair thinks that interventions are almost always necessary while the Iraq invasion was partly based on lies, people no longer listen to him except the hawks and some dictators and thus, to continue being heard, he has to lecture and advise them. He has to be careful not to become like them to remain important on the international stage.

Return to political life?

As the above shows, Mr Blair never really left the political scene although is now working more in the background as Peace Envoy and adviser to powerful people, mainly in the Middle-East. But what about a possible return to a political life at the foreground whereby people have to take his decisions serious?

1) UK

What about a possible return to UK politics? I think this will be very difficult as many people oppose him. Indeed, he won three elections, one even after the invasion of Iraq, but the world moved on. And at this moment he is probably still too divisive although, when austerity becomes harsher (the Tories want another £25bn spending cuts if they win May's elections) people may remember his government again although people may trust Mr Gordon Brown more on the economy and as someone from them. Because not only the Iraq war angered people, PM Blair became also a hated person amongst ordinary people because they feel he betrayed them when he started to embrace the rich and powerful who promised him world dominance and thus, to become elected in the UK, the British should be able to trust him again. He may also need the media on his side although when he gives public speeches, even opposition media can't do anything else then report what he said unless they decide to ignore them.

(New) Labour party after PM Blair

A worry for him may be that he lost the support of his party. Although many now criticise Mr Blair, when he was in power and politicians were elected because he was the best in promoting New Labour's ideas, most were happy to support him. After the Tories regained power, the first thing New Labour did was remove 'New' from the name. Instead of only criticising their previous leaders and distancing themselves from both Mr Blair and Mr Brown, they should remind people of the good done during New Labour's time in power although acknowledge the errors that were made so they can find solutions to correct them in a future government. Because mainly agreeing with the policies of the Tories (such as more austerity) will not bring them back into government as the original is mostly better than the copy because it shows that those who copy have no ideas. When for instance people criticise a possible future Mansion tax, politicians should listen now in order to improve the idea or explain it better before the elections (because indeed many people live in a house they could not afford today but is theirs because the value increased over time and thus how to make sure people don't have to sell their home because they can't pay the tax). Thus, although of course governments can't spend unlimited and will have to make choices, saying they too will use austerity will not bring them back in power although they seem to focus on the survival of the NHS.

Therefore, explain again and again the good done under New Labour (see first part of these three articles) and how everyone benefited from them. Explain that the investments and achievements by PM Blair's government after the Thatcher years were starting to get their return while stopping the investments too early will result in a return to the years before Mr Blair and thus the need again for more investments in the future.

Explain that many young people, including those from poorer regions and other parts of the world, profited from the investments in schools and university and just started to be able to do something back to society when greedy people destroyed the economy although receive praise for being successful by the current ruling classes. Explain why entry to universities may not be able to be free during a financial crisis (it was even PM Blair who introduced the tuition fee) but introduce mechanisms to ensure people on below average earnings can continue going to university. His years in power also resulted in a tolerant society although there will always be some idiots.
Then explain why rules for the financial and other sectors are needed such as caps on bonuses but also a fair tax system whereby even large companies need to pay tax in the country where they earn money so people will understand rules and taxes exist to benefit the country and its inhabitants but also to prevent corruption.
Because Labour doesn't acknowledge this enough, the next government may not be Labour. Still, during a difficult time for Mr Miliband, Mr Blair spoke out in support of Mr Ed Miliband and thus didn't betray his old colleague although he had to deny rumours he thinks Labour may not win the next elections. But I agree, by refusing to mention any good past achievements means that Labour can't present much as a policy while defending austerity is the same as being like the Tories; Mr Blair is right that the middle ground needs to be defended (such as civil servants but also affordable schools and healthcare). And what about renewable energy? But certainly denying a referendum on whether to stay in or go out of the hated EU will harm any chances of winning the elections as Labour's lecturing of Scottish voters to stay in the UK and its consequent loss of members demonstrate. Indeed, this referendum is promised and thus can't be stopped although Labour may argue why they are in favour of staying in the EU.

And thus, if Mr Blair wants to return to the UK as a politician he may have to start again at a local level so he can again understand the people and gain again their trust while his closeness to foreign leaders is suspicious to many. But this may be difficult because many may even try to arrest him or worse and thus I think this may be impossible.

2) International politics

But Mr Blair not only lost support in his own country but is also loosing the support of diplomats and politicians because of his double work while opponents will continue to highlight what angered people. In addition, Mr Blair also seems to have lost some powerful friends such as a powerful media person after meeting his wife during the person's absence while Ofsted, founded during Mr Blair's premiership, blocked the expansion of the person's power in the UK. His current lifestyle suggest he is completely at ease with powerful people while they may not always like him because he allowed the rise of many control agencies (= more power to the people) that are now starting to expose those who abused their powers. Also some countries may have problems with him (e.g. because of the Iraq war) and thus they may have prevented him from having a dream job (i.e. a top job at the EU) so the Polish PM Donald Tusk became European Council President while the EU allowed Mr Juncker as Chief of the European Commission even after his departure as Luxembourg PM due to a scandal in his own country. Later it turned out he also favoured the rich and powerful during his time as PM and helped them by approving tax loopholes although he now promised to campaign against tax avoidance, probably from ordinary people in countries hit by austerity where people try to survive. In addition, some powerful leaders of European countries prefer a quiet president who can unite while Mr Blair has a personality that is too strong not to try to impose his vision on others. And because Mr Blair is now so close with the powerful and it seems so far removed from the rest, people are angry and may prevent their leaders to allow him as boss unless sufficient numbers of supporters of dictators (i.e. people who benefit when dictators rule) gain power and who may like a person who is able to open doors to do business. But even then he may have to promise to abandon other of his convictions such as allow fewer control agencies.

Charity or adviser?

My advise for him is to focus again on what he was good at when he came to power and what is already one of his activities although it may reduce his wealth. I think he should use the wealth he earned to support charities who help people in developing countries and even in his own country. He should not promote that people in developing countries should sell their land to big landowners so larger yields of food are possible while they may employ some people who can earn some money. Indeed, I think having larger yields can be done differently than selling land to landowners who will mainly benefit and use machines so only a few people need to be employed. He could advise that people should work together on combined pieces of lands so they can harvest larger yields while also advise not to culture only one type of food in case something goes wrong with a particular crop. They should also sell the food mainly on the local markets instead of selling it for little money to rich countries who sell it expensive to their own people while people in developing countries continue to starve as they can't afford buying expensive food from rich countries.
Support charities that are succesful at helping people to improve their life at a local level such as better water supply system. Invest in education and healthcare, either by supporting governments that have a shortage of money or directly by giving money to the projects. But don't force things upon people they don't want; there are sufficient places in the world where people hope for a better life without loosing every possible control on their own future. Invest in Internet so people all over the world have access to knowledge although many leaders of countries will not like this. Explain to people they should also respect their environment because this is a main asset and new techniques exist to have progress without destruction. Do this in countries where governments support their people, not enrich themselves at the expense of their own people.

When people can improve their own life and not because others enforced it, they will be grateful. Then people may respect you again and remember you as one of the greatest PM the UK ever knew. But continue serving two masters and you may continue to go down in the eyes of the people.

You can also decide to work only for the powerful and try to improve conditions at that level in countries although support for dictators will not gain you much respect.

Finally, stop being the Middle-East peace envoy because my guess is that this can only bring disaster to your legacy while only war can bring peace in the Middle East when people finally will have enough of extremists from all three major religions who try to gain power in that region at the expense of others. Whenever the international community thinks there is progress, someone manages to force a setback. Whatever you do, as a non-Jew or non-Muslim and not from that region, you are doomed to fail as none of these people will ever accept that an outsider will govern them, unless the situation is so desperate they have to accept outside help to survive.

I wish Mr Tony Blair the best for the future. 


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