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Happy 60th birthday , Tony Blair

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Happy 60th birthday , Tony Blair

Post  Panda on Tue 7 May - 11:05

Happy 60th birthday, Tony Blair


Tomorrow Tony Blair turns 60. Gyles Brandreth (65) who lost his seat as a
Conservative MP when New Labour swept to power in 1997, sends the former prime
minister a birthday message...









Tony Blair in April 2013 "looked
pretty perky: fitter, slimmer and less obviously perma-tanned than I have seen
[him] for a while" Photo:
REX





By Gyles Brandreth

7:00AM BST 05 May 2013

336 Comments




Dear Tony...


Happy birthday. You’ve reached an interesting age. Men can go off the rails
at 60. They get their first intimations of mortality and begin to ask
themselves: “Is this it?”


How are you feeling right now? I must say that when I saw you the other day
at Baroness Thatcher’s funeral, you looked pretty perky: fitter, slimmer and
less obviously perma-tanned than I have seen you for a while. I know that one of
your several homes once belonged to one of our finest thespians, Sir John
Gielgud, and, as you arrived and left St Paul’s and heads turned in your
direction, there was undeniably something of the international star about you –
more George Clooney than John Gielgud, of course. I watched you during the
service. (Like any good actor, you do draw the eye.) You appeared reflective.
Were you pondering your own destiny? A funeral at Westminster Cathedral,
perhaps? With your ashes scattered on the Mount of Olives? (The notion is not
entirely fanciful. You once claimed Jerusalem as your “home”, didn’t you?) At St
Paul’s last month, as you sat gazing at Margaret Thatcher’s coffin draped in the
Union flag, were you thinking about the future or brooding about the past?



The last time I saw you before that was in Egypt, at Sharm el-Sheikh, being
swept by bullet-proof limousine through streets cleared for your passage. You
are leading this curious portfolio life now: Middle East peace envoy,
international speaker, adviser to banks, philanthropist. It’s exciting – a touch
of the Bill Clintons with a bit of Bono, Bill Gates and Mother Teresa thrown in
– but how satisfying is it?


The last time I saw Margaret Thatcher was in South Africa, when she was
visiting her son, Mark. Without politics and Denis, her life was empty.




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Your life is full. You are busy-busy-busy, but what does it add up to?
Representing the UN, the EU, the US and Russia, you have visited Jerusalem 87
times in 10 years, but, honestly, where has all your frantic diplomacy got us?
Advising J P Morgan brings you millions (well done), but you don’t need the
money.

I have read your autobiography. I was struck by the advice you got from a
policeman who said: “If you are attacked, whatever you do, stay standing. Once
you’re on the ground, you’re done for and they’ll go on kicking.” It’s clear
from your book that your “legacy” matters to you. In the UK, let’s face it, the
nature of that legacy is uncertain. Now you are 60, I sense you know it and it
troubles you. In 1997, at just 43, you became our country’s youngest prime
minister in 185 years. Day-to-day, you managed the job with extraordinary skill.
It isn’t as easy as you made it look, as Gordon Brown, helpfully, went on to
demonstrate. (Gordon is flat on the floor now and we’re all kicking.)

Remarkably, you won three elections for New Labour. But New Labour is dead
and buried, so it seems you didn’t break the mould. In office you followed
through on the Northern Ireland peace process and devolution, building
successfully on the work of others, but beyond introducing civil partnerships
(good) and bouncing us into the Iraq war (the jury’s out on that one), what was
your unique and lasting contribution to our national life? Mrs Thatcher changed
the country: did you?

I don’t want to be a party-pooper on your birthday, Tony, but I don’t think I
am alone in finding you likeable but a bit strange. I remember the time when we
were alone together before the 2001 election and, with your eyes gleaming, you
held my shoulders tight and murmured: “The Third Way, Gyles. It’s for real – and
it’s for you.” It’s a life of gnomic utterances now, at £1,000 a minute. You are
revered overseas, especially by Americans and people for whom English is a
second language, but at home most of us find you a hard one to fathom.

There is still this “disconnect” with the British people. Do you remember the
day we shared a platform at Wembley Arena? We were both there to address 15,000
members of the WI. They booed you, when I assumed they’d cheer you to the
rafters. You are a natural charmer, but that day they didn’t “get” you. And more
to the point, you didn’t “get” them. They still don’t.

Five years ago, in New York, you launched the Tony Blair Faith Foundation
with another gnomic utterance: “Our aim is that idealism becomes the new
realism.” You said that working with the Foundation is “how I want to spend the
rest of my life”. Around the world you do so much that’s worthy – promoting
understanding between different faiths, encouraging good governance in Africa,
introducing the Chinese to the realities of climate change – but at home none of
it registers. You have the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Thomas J Dodd
Prize in International Justice and Human Rights and goodness knows what other
glittering prizes, but in the land of your fathers (even in the North East,
where the Tony Blair Sports Foundation is doing so much for so many), it means
barely a dickie bird.

So what’s to be done? You described your autobiography as “a letter to the
country I love”. You want to be loved, Tony – and understood. But you aren’t and
you know it. Before it’s too late, can you find a way to connect with your party
or the people?

Perhaps not. And, if not, don’t worry. Accept your fate. “Is this it?” Yes,
it is and it could be worse. You are hugely rich and hugely famous. The leaders
of the world are united in their admiration for you, even if your countrymen and
women aren’t. And you are still standing. Settle for that and give Cherie a
cuddle.

In fact, now you’re 60, I think my advice to you would be: strive less,
travel less, do less and cherish Cherie and the family more than ever. The rest
of us will never quite understand you. As the years go by, you will need to
spend more time with those who do. Happy birthday.

Love, Gyles

Panda
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Re: Happy 60th birthday , Tony Blair

Post  Panda on Tue 7 May - 11:11

Tony Blair will never be forgiven for sending our Troops to their deaths on a lie.
They don't call him Teflon Tony for nothing, I can't stand the Man.!!
He managed to pass a D Notice on the Sunday Herald so they couldn't publish anything about his sexual exploits, yet Celebrities don't have the same privilege and even if found innocent thier reputations will be tarnished.

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Re: Happy 60th birthday , Tony Blair

Post  kitti on Sat 11 May - 14:55

Slime ball.

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Re: Happy 60th birthday , Tony Blair

Post  Not Born Yesterday on Sat 11 May - 15:00

May I pass a belated message on to the creature from the deep.

May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits.

A little childish maybe but I feel better for it!

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Re: Happy 60th birthday , Tony Blair

Post  Panda on Sat 11 May - 16:39

Not Born Yesterday wrote:May I pass a belated message on to the creature from the deep.

May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits.

A little childish maybe but I feel better for it!



He also got away with not having to confront Parliament over the "Warning". I thin he will go down in Political History as one of the most devious PM's, Teflon Tony is a very apt name whoever coined the phrase

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Re: Happy 60th birthday , Tony Blair

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