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Tony Blair can afford to be generous

Tony Blair's latest publicity stunt shortly before the publication of his memoirs may increase book sales but will do little to repair his tarnished reputation.

Whether a genuine philanthropic gesture or "blood money", his donation to the British Legion has only highlighted the fact that, unlike the beneficiaries of such largesse, Blair can now afford to be very generous.

Since leaving office, a recession-proof Blair has relentlessly amassed an unprecedented fortune thought to be worth tens of millions of pounds. The combination of lucrative commercial interests, boardroom activities and speechmaking help fund a millionaire lifestyle. Blair's property portfolio alone comprises seven homes reportedly worth £14m.

In addition, his pension, private office allowance and elite security team are understood to cost the taxpayer more than £6m annually. We will also pick up the bill for the policing at the forthcoming book-signing launch.

Understandably welcomed by the cash-strapped British Legion, our former PM's donation will bring little comfort to the many victims of his administration's foreign policy, in particular, families who have lost loved ones in an illegal Iraq war, for which he has expressed no regret.

While Blair has moved on, those left to deal with the consequences of his actions have not been afforded the same luxury. This latest publicity stunt may indeed push book sales up, but the author's reputation is not likely to follow suit.

Dr Christina Julios, Birkbeck, University of London

Belfast Telegraph


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