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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 February 2014

Tony Blair: The not-so-secret adviser to the rich and powerful

Ben Norman

Some establishment politicians become so adept at defending the indefensible during their time in office that they can amass a fortune from the skill after leaving.

It therefore comes as no surprise that prior to News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks' arrest in connection to the phone hacking scandal, that it should be Tony Blair who phoned her with 'unofficial' advice.

With words which insult everyone who marched against the Iraq war, Blair advised Brooks to publish a 'Hutton style report' into the allegations, a reference to the 2003 whitewashing inquiry following the death of weapons inspector David Kelly.

A 2011 email from Brooks detailing Blair's advice surfaced as she appeared on the witness stand. In it, she told former News International chief James Murdoch that Blair was available to him, his father Rupert, or Brooks herself 'as an unofficial adviser'.

Duplicity and spin has always been at the heart of Blair's career. As John Rentoul revealed in his biography, Blair was the self-proclaimed 'socialist' who advised the Labour leadership of the 1980s how to conduct its witch-hunt of supporters of Militant, the forerunner to the Socialist Party.

As party leader he abolished Labour's 'Clause 4' constitutional commitment to 'socialism', before launching business friendly New Labour, while as prime minister he extended the neoliberal polices of Margaret Thatcher and launched a series of disastrous wars.

Blair ended his political career as a walking parody of international diplomacy by accepting the role of Middle Eastern Peace Envoy, while wars that he presided over continued to bloody both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet, it has been the business of selling advice which made Blair his millions, touting his services via Tony Blair Associates, to despots and bankers alike.

In 2008 Blair became an adviser to JPMorgan the investment bank, which called, with audacious honesty, for the curtailing of Spain's democratic institutions, which they blamed for hindering austerity.

By 2009 the Times reported that through his consultancy work and lectures, Blair had become the highest paid public speaker in the world.

It therefore wasn't a need to pay the bills which drove Blair to advise Kazakh dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Nazarbayev, whose authoritarian regime was responsible for the Zhanaozen massacre of striking oil workers in 2011, paid an estimated $13 million for the services of a man who had always claimed his first commitment was to promoting democracy.

That Brooks can be a close friend of David Cameron and a confidant of Tony Blair lays bare the connections between Britain's elites.

It reveals that we need more than a Hutton, or Leveson, inquiry to truly expose the corrupt dealings of both Blair and his powerful clients.

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In The Socialist 26 February 2014:

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Stop cuts carnage

End housing crisis: Rich landlords are real scroungers

Floods show planning and investment needed

Tony Blair: The not-so-secret adviser to the rich

Them and us

Socialist Party feature

Great 1984-85 miners' strike remembered

International socialist news and analysis

President ousted: what next for Ukraine?

Venezuela: Chavism and the Right call for 'peace'

Socialist Party workplace news

PCS enters Scotland independence debate

Hospital workers fight for fair pay

Striking seafarers make gains

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

'Welfare reform' - an avalanche of misery

Atos - not capable of assessing work capability

Budget bloodbaths show TUSC needed

Nuneaton students demand proper wages and hours

Appeal: Help Socialist Party offer real alternative

Readers' comments and reviews

Genetic modification: A means of making profit

Wales: A Land of Whose Fathers?

Marxism in Today's World

Film review: The Lego Movie


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