Tony Blair Regrets Having Worked As An Adviser To Nazarbayev
His life now is hugely lucrative but hideous to behold, as he roams the world like the Flying Dutchman, with an estimated £25 million’s worth of properties, with a large fortune, including benefits from a Wall Street bank and a Swiss finance company, sundry Gulf sheiks and the president-for-life of Kazakhstan. He doubtless justifies to himself his work for Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev, whose regime has been strongly condemned by human rights organizations, in the same strange antinomian way he justified the manner in which he took us into the Iraq war: whatever he does must be virtuous because he does it.
Tony Blair has hinted at a return to frontline politics, and insisted the matter is “an open question.”
The former prime minister told Esquire magazine that he was searching for a role which would help his party to reclaim the centre ground of British politics.
“I don’t know if there’s a role for me. There’s a limit to what I want to say about my own position at this moment,” he said.
“All I can say is that this is where politics is at. Do I feel strongly about it? Yes, I do. Am I very motivated by that? Yes. Where do I go from here? What exactly do I do? That’s an open question.”
He also attacked the “ultra-left” Jeremy Corbyn for his belief that “action on the street is as important as action in the parliament.”
“One culture is the culture of the Labour Party as a party of government. And that, historically, is why Labour was formed: to win representation in Parliament and ultimately to influence and to be the government of the country,” he said.
“The other culture is the ultra-left, which believes that the action on the street is as important as the action in Parliament. That culture has now taken the leadership of the Labour Party. It’s a huge problem because they live in a world that is very, very remote from the way that broad mass of people really think,” he added.
Blair announced in September that he would close down “the bulk” of his post-political business ventures, which involved associating with some of the most autocratic leaders in the world, including Nursultan Nazarbayev, the dictator of Kazakhstan. He suggested that he regrets working as an adviser to Nazarbayev. Remind, that he earned millions in the role. He said: “I’m happy to say we worked there… but of course, it turned into a big stick to beat us with.”
Blair first hitched with the Kazakhstani government in 2011, brought aboard as an “official adviser” to Astana. It soon became clear, though, that Blair’s focus on putative “reforms” would take an immediate and, over the next five years continued, backseat to spinning the Kazakhstani government’s entrenching dictatorship. (There was a reason, after all, that Astana’s real goal in hiring Blair was rumored to be earning Nazarbayev a Nobel Peace Prize.) Indeed, over the past five years, Kazakhstan saw no greater cheerleader abroad than Blair and his team. Time and again, Blair rushed to the Kazakhstani government’s defense, be it after the 2011 government-led Zhanaozen massacre or after Astana had snuffed any remaining opposition, either political or press.
Blair’s popularity ratings were among some of the highest ever both as prime minister and opposition leader. He transformed Labour into an electoral powerhouse, delivering three back-to-back general election victories. However, he would face a massive task of regaining public support if he was to return to frontline politics.
He was heavily criticised in July’s Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war, and 53% of the public say they will “never forgive” him for his role in the country’s invasion. “Blairite” is a term which pro-Corbyn members of the party regularly use to deride MPs who disagree with the left-wing leader.