Tony Blair has turned out to be one of the more disreputable prime minister the UK has ever had. And it takes something to gain that accolade when you look at those who have occupied that position. When in office he committed the greatest sin for any PM he sent young men and women to war on a wicked lie.
Since he left office he has toured the world hovering up millions of dollars from some of the most despicable dictators on the planet.
Robert Mendick, chief reporter at the Telegraph wrote:
Tony Blair demanded more than £5 million a year to advise a dictator through his secretive consulting business.
Leaked documents show for the first time the huge fees charged by Tony Blair Associates, a company set up by the former prime minister on leaving Downing Street, in a much criticised deal with Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is a former Soviet republic in which Nursultan Nazarbayev moved with ease from being
the First Secretary of the Communist Party to Dictator of all he surveys after the Soviet Union imploded. Like Nazarbayev’s hero Uncle Joe, he now goes by the title ‘Leader of the Nation.’Not a natural bedfellow you might believe for a former leader of the Labour Party, but with people like Mr Blair it’s the mighty dollar which does the talking.Mendick continues:
Mr Blair’s company earned millions of pounds over at least six years advising the Kazakhstan government and its autocratic president Nursultan Nazarbayev.
It is claimed Mr Blair first began negotiations to offer advice to Mr Nazarbayev in 2009 and began formally working with the government in 2011. By the time the contract was being renewed in late 2014, Mr Blair’s team was offering a series of services at a total cost of $6.3 million – about £5.3 million.
So what were these service Blair provided to this dictator? We’re told they’re for advising the regime on judicial, economic and political reforms. If he has been advising the dictator on economic matters they have not improved the lives of ordinary Kazakh’s. Under the iron rule of Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan has become one of the most corrupt nations in the world. It is thought the dictator’s family gets a slice off the top of all government contracts. It favours home grown corporations whose way of doing business is more in tune with the US mafia.
Human Rights Watch reported last year:
An economic court in Shymkent, in southern Kazakhstan, on December 5, 2016, began reviewing a case brought by the Justice Ministry against the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan. Three other affiliated industrial trade unions face liquidation as well.
“Kazakhstan should be allowing workers to organise freely in compliance with its international obligations, not trying to shut down a major workers organisation.”
Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch said:
“Trampling on basic labour rights is both wrong in principle and in the signal it sends to Kazakhstan’s partners.”
None of this bothered Tony Blair, given he surfed on trade union money to become Prime minister one would have thought he might have a degree of empathy with Kazakhstan trade unionists but not a bit of it. *
Robert Mendick in his Telegraph article continues:
The complex structure of his corporate empire makes it impossible to know precisely what Tony Blair Associates receives nor the personal profits received by Mr Blair.
His personal fortune, which includes a number of properties co-owned with his wife and children, has been estimated at as much as £80 million.
The 2014 contract proposal, entitled ‘Supporting Kazakhstan’s Journey: Continuing the cooperation between Kazakhstan and Tony Blair Associates’ describes over eight pages’ offers one project leader and one junior adviser based in Astana, the Kazakh capital.
But TBA also make a series of demands that include the provision of a dedicated driver and car paid for by the Kazakh taxpayer as well as additional translators and interpreters.
Kazakhstan also pays for ‘full travel arrangements’ for Tony Blair’s personal visits, including ‘first-class hotel accommodation, all transportation, appropriate catering and any other costs”.
On each visit Mr Blair will travel with up to five people although the letter points out that his protection officers, supplied by the Metropolitan Police, “will not be paid by the Government of Kazakhstan.” Their travel and accommodation bills are picked up by the UK taxpayer.
It is pretty clear Tony Blair Associates were firmly embedded within the dictatorship. The Telegraph had previously disclosed details of a leaked letter from Mr Blair to Mr Nazarbayev offering him public relations advice on how to deal with the massacre of striking workers in the oil town of Zhanaozen in December 2011.
Let me run that past readers again:
Details from leaked letter from Mr Blair to Mr Nazarbayev offering him public relations advice on how to deal with the massacre of striking workers in the oil town of Zhanaozen in December 2011.
This is the company which Blair keeps, why any reputable newspaper would give this man house room is beyond me, but as we saw from his recent intervention on Brexit this is exactly what papers like the Guardian and broadcasters like Channel Four News do.
According to Wikileaks critics say that the country’s government has come to resemble a clan system.
In 2014, the Kazakh authorities closed newspapers, jailed or fined dozens of people after peaceful protests. The law doesn’t provide for an independent judiciary, corruption is evident at every stage of the judicial process.
What I find so disturbing about Blair’s intervention on the side of the Kazakh dictatorship, it gave the green light to British companies to do business with this dictatorship and its aligned corporations.
Kazakhstan is a nasty grubby ‘democratic’ dictatorship in which the head of state has blood splashed all over himself, but hey, Tony Blair like Don Vito Corleone in the movie:
“Is just doing business.”