Sunday, 15 December 2013

Tony Blair and Rosia Montana

The Sunday Telegraph today says that at Nelson Mandela's interminable funeral Tony Blair introduced Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, whom the paper called Mr. Blair's prospective client, to Mr Obama.

Back in the summer, when Mr. Blair flew to Bucharest to dine with Mr. Ponta, I heard that Rosia Montana Gold corporation is Mr. Blair's client, which is why he met Mr. Ponta.  

It does seem some thing ignoble that former first ministers of the British crown make money in this way in matters completely unrelated to British interests. 

Nor is it necessary. Former prime Ministers have plenty of money. Mr. Heath lived in style on the money he accumulated over twenty years from his salary as cabinet minister, leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister. Mr. Callaghan saved enough from his pay to buy a farm. But Mr. Blair has always been fascinated by the very rich and aspires to be very rich himself. As Mr. Callaghan said of Mr. Blair when he first saw him at the  1983 Labour Party Conference,
I don't know what that young man is but he is not Labour.
This will probably be the puzzled judgement of history, with the caveat that not being Labour does not mean not being left-wing, if left-wing means promoting egalitarianism, along with marked inequalities of income, and a powerful state. Mr. Blair created a new kind of left that combines admiration for the rich and powerful with internationalism, enthusiasm for the EU and social liberalism. It should fit in well with Victor Ponta's ideas, and those of the PSD - a socialist party run by millionaires - except for the social liberalism, which will come to Romania only under pressure from the E.U. There are no votes in it.

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