+++ Bush Awards Blair Medal of Freedom +++

Pays tribute to Blair’s friendship, “the might and moral authority of Great Britain”, Blair’s belief in freedom, “his service to peace to peace and democracy in the Middle East”.

Bush citation:

The first day I met Tony Blair, almost exactly eight years ago, he was in his second term as Prime Minister and I was just starting out. After our first meeting, a reporter asked if we’d found anything in common, and I jokingly replied that we both used Colgate toothpaste. (Laughter.)

The truth is I did feel a close connection to Tony Blair. As I said after the first meeting, I knew that “when either of us gets in a bind, there will be a friend on the other end of the phone.” My friend was there, indeed, after America was attacked on September the 11th, 2001. And it just wasn’t on the phone line. When I stood in the House Chamber to ask the civilized world to rally to freedom’s cause, there in the gallery was the staunch friend, Prime Minister Tony Blair.

He was there in a moment of trial to affirm the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. And he was there to show America, and all nations, that he understood the stakes in the war on terror. As he said, “just as the terrorist seeks to divide humanity in hate, so we have to unify it around an idea. And that idea is liberty.” Under Tony Blair’s leadership, the might and the moral authority of Great Britain have been applied to the war on terror from the first day. Our nations have worked proudly together to destroy terrorist havens, liberate millions, and help rising democracies to serve the aspirations of their people.

Tony Blair’s entire career is defined by his devotion to democratic values and human dignity. At his very center, this man believes in freedom — freedom from oppression, freedom from hunger, freedom from disease, and freedom from fear and despair. In the House of Commons, as the longest-serving Labour Prime Minister in history, he fought to lift up his nation’s communities and better the lives of all its people. He helped turn generations of violence in Northern Ireland into years of peace. He drew the attention and conscience of the world to the suffering in Africa, and he continues to serve the cause of peace and democracy as the Quartet Envoy to the Middle East.

Out of office but still in public life, Tony Blair remains on the world stage as a man of high intelligence and insight — and above all, as a man of faith and idealism and integrity. The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will stand tall in history. And today the United States of America proudly honors its gallant friend, Tony Blair.

More Mortgage Questions for Mandelson

Is history going to repeat itself? Greg Hands is asking how Mandelson made the money dealing in property in his constituency to install himself in a £2.5 million Regency villa. Mandelson admits to receiving money from Alain Minc, the mysterious French fixer who was an adviser to former premier Édouard Balladur and now makes his millions “fixing” things. Monsieur Minc is worth examining closely…
When Guido looked into Mandelson finances a few months ago he was given the impression that Mandelson trousered £1 million from his brief involvement with the Clemmow Hornby Inge advertising agency – a pretty good return on the £30,000 he invested. This plus an inheritance enabled him to finance his multi-million pound home. Gilligan reveals that the inheritance was not that big. New information has now come to light revealing something unexplained about the sale of the shares.

Something that didn’t come out in the Gilligan article is the nearly 12 month gap between Mandelson selling his shares for circa £1 million in summer 2007, and the purchase of the property in August 2006. Did he get another bridging loan from a benefactor, or did he get a bridging loan from a bank? If so, did he use the shares as collateral for the loan?

Tory backer David Ross was forced to resign his position for failing to declare that he had used his shares in Carphone Warehouse as collateral to finance property deals. Mandelson has been in trouble and had to resign before over declarations about his mortgage…

How Does Mandy Afford to Live on Millionaire’s Row?

Andrew Gilligan is digging into how Lord Mandelson can afford to buy a £2.5 million Regency villa on Regents Park. After all he has been a poorly paid public servant for over a decade…

Draper Site Crashes Live on TV



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Quote of the Day

Labour’s Austin Mitchell muses on the campaign:

“What’s the problem? No use pointing at the leader. Too late to change and unnecessary for Miliband is doing well at Question Time. His problem is connecting with the real world. He doesn`t speak people and his protective team of naive kids are playing West Wing rather than letting the leader relate to real people. We could point at the party, shrunk in numbers and enthusiasm because everything, from policy formulation to candidate selection, comes top down rather than bubbling up from below so campaigning becomes the opium of members deprived of any real role, though they`re not even sure what they’re campaigning about, with or for, but its role is marginal.”

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