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Former PM Tony Blair ‘finds it hard to be hated by people’

The former PM said his silence had allowed others to portray him in a bad light.

Tony Blair has admitted he finds it hard to be hated by some people.

The former prime minister, who swept to power on a surge of popularity 20 years ago, also insisted the image of him concentrating on making money around the world since he left office in 2007 was wrong.

Asked how he felt about being considered toxic by some and totally hated by others, Mr Blair told GQ: “Yep, it’s hard. It’s all about coming to terms with the fact that when you’re running for power you can be all things to all people.

“But when you achieve power you have to make decisions and when that happens, and the process of government is your life, you become less popular.”

The former PM said he should have communicated more after he left power because his silence had allowed others to portray him in a bad light.

“That was definitely a mistake. If you read about what I have been doing these last 10 years you’d think I have just been going round the world making money when I have spent the vast bulk of my time in the Middle East, in Africa, on the things I believe in.”

Mr Blair, who has been widely criticised over the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003, described the current situation in Syria as a “hideous blot” on Western foreign policy.

“When the Arab Spring began, what I said to people was be very careful because you have been through a situation in Iraq and Afghanistan where you have removed a dictatorship but then the problems begin.

“So, if you can evolve a transition, do that. My view on Syria and Libya was it would have been better to have agreed a process of transition, so if you could cut a deal, which I think you could have, with Gaddafi, or Assad, for transition, that would be better.

“Then having said you wanted them to go, you had to get them out. And the problem with what we have done in Syria is that we have insisted he go, but then not made him go. And the inevitability therefore of a civil war as a result of that was, I’m afraid, very clear.

“He was going to fight to stay and then the Russians and the Iranians came in on his side and propped him up. But what has happened in Syria in my view is a hideous blot on Western foreign policy.”

The ex-PM criticised people who compare US President Donald Trump to some of history’s worst dictators.

“The comparisons with Hitler and Stalin are ridiculous. However, as I said openly during the campaign, I would have backed Hillary Clinton. You can assume what my views are.”

Mr Blair also warned Scotland about opting to break away from the UK, stating: “I do not think independence is sensible for Scotland even if Brexit happens.”

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