According to the Chinese website soufun.com, the powerful China Everbright Group also paid Tony $500,000 to take a VIP tour of its property site at Songshanhu. Tony, ever able to charm, thrilled his hosts by boasting that his sister-in-law is Chinese and his seven-year Leo is learning Putonghua. No doubt he tells them in Jerusalem the boy is learning Hebrew…
A China Everbright staffer was reported as saying that Mr Blair will be given a Dongguan villa worth as much as 38 million yuan. Local financial gossip Lai See wonders what this might augur for the red-hot real estate market, “given Mr Blair’s notorious track record of buying at the peak and just before the fall.” How very dare they say that of our illustrious ex-PM…
Guido’s revelation – despite what Blair’s people claim – won’t really add to his security risk.
Iranian MOIS intelligence agents will practically have to drive past the front door on the way to their Embassy, so they will probably notice him.
Guido suspects that the added security risk the neo-peacemaker brings to the area is going to irritate the hedge fund managers and corporate titans whose natural domain he is entering. Never mind what the denizens of the local gentleman’s clubs will make of his wife…
Look at the cover picture, does the whole black roll-neck thing remind you of another political wife’s post-husband -leaving-office autobiography?
You don’t think Cherie is going to copy Hilary and try running for office as well? She really does hate Gordon*…
*You can see what she thinks of Gordon on GuyNews.TV.
With his new role as Middle East facilitator it is hard to see how Blair would commute between Jerusalem and Durham, one minute sorting out lost welfare benefit claims and the next minute pacifying the Palestinians.
Sedgefield is a safe seat, and dual by-elections will stretch the LibDem machine into two operations.
Many Labour left-wingers might think that the result of a Sedgefield by-election would count as a “Labour Gain”.
At this stage he will have no further hand in Anglican Bishopric appointments and any possible unease caused in Orange circles in Northern Ireland now irrelevant, it would be a good time to formalise his position.
An added bonus being he could ask the Pope there and then for absolution for his sins…
UPDATE : The Observer’s John Hooper in Vatican City reports a Vatican source saying Blair used his last official foreign engagement before leaving office to tell the Pope he wanted to become a Roman Catholic.
“But, in talks lasting more than half an hour, the outgoing Prime Minister was left in no doubt that the Pope took a dim view of his record in office. A statement issued afterwards by the Vatican said there had been a ‘frank exchange of views’. Vatican sources said the Pope remained unmoved in his view that Blair had been wrong over Iraq. To an even greater extent than his predecessor, Benedict feels that Catholic politicians cannot separate their public lives from their private.”
Remember, for example, what they told us about the Women’s Institute member who led the slow-hand-clapping of Blair – that she had a National Front past. That was feral spin, vicious and untrue. Do you remember Alastair Campbell’s plan to “fuck” David Kelly? That was feral. Do you remember Alastair Campbell’s foul mouthed tirades? They were feral. The old woman mistreated at an NHS hospital during an election campaign? “Racist” they smeared, without any evidence. The Brownite pack’s undermining of Blairite colleagues like Ruth Kelly and John Reid? Wasn’t that feral?
Blair’s treatment by the media got rough only after he was completely found out. It was the dodgy dossier, and the false prospectus for war that did for him, his spin was until then more than a match for the media pack.
UPDATE : The IPPR has just emailed out a piece (on the back of the Blair speech) by Sir Michael White where he blames everyone else for the “gross tabloidisation of national journalism” including of course the “unmediated internet”. He repeats his claim that the Loans for Lordships investigation is just political opportunism by the SNP and Blair’s political enemies. Michael White has spent 30 years covering politics close-up, he is no longer able to see that selling seats in the legislature is just plain wrong. He basically says “everybody did it”, why the fuss now?
The better question is, why only now has there been a fuss? Well if a young new MP had not stumbled upon the corruption legislation, if a less determined detective had not been given the case and the story wasn’t pushed relentlessly by “unmediated” voices, there would have been no fuss.
Just as well the likes of Sir Michael White and Nick Robinson were ignored and some kept on at the story in an unmediated and grossly tabloid way, eh?
UPDATE : Real picture here.
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Questioned by police about one of the sex offences allegations he faces, Nigel Evans told them:
“I misread the signals.”