Tony Blair is trying to remodel himself as a Henry Kissinger figure in a bid to shape world events including Brexit.
Over the weekend it was reported by the London Sunday Times that the former British prime minister, who left office almost a decade ago, wants to stage a political comeback by setting up an institute in London. It will apparently be called either the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change or the Tony Blair Centre for Global Change.
An insider was quoted as saying: “[Blair’s] relinquished most of his financial interests because he was done with the negative headlines about his obsession with wealth and he’s remodelling himself. I think it’s fair to say that he sees himself as a global statesman in the Henry Kissinger mould.”
Kissinger, 93, served as Security Advisor and later concurrently as United States Secretary of State in the administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He then acted as an advisor to subsequent presidents.
Just last week Blair sent out a signal that, aged 63, his interest in world affairs remains undimmed as he met Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of US president-elect Donald Trump who acts as his gatekeeper.
At the top of Blair’s to-do list is a desire to influence Brexit. He has apparently held talks with senior British politicians to discuss whether and how Britain should quit the European Union, of which he is a passionate advocate.
Tony Blair reportedly wants to lead the campaign against #Brexit. Please, please, please, please Tony. Do it
— Tim Montgomerie ن (@montie) November 20, 2016
But some have mocked him for this, saying his tattered reputation will only guarantee Britain leaves the organisation.
Senior Conservative MP Owen Paterson said this morning: “This is glorious news. He [Blair] is one of those discredited establishment figures who repels many people. For this he must win the international prize for lack of self awareness this year.”
A source told the Sunday Times that Blair recently described the British prime minister Theresa May as “a lightweight” and the leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn as “a nutter”.
The source said: “He thinks Jeremy Corbyn is a nutter and the Tories are screwing up Brexit. He thinks there’s a massive hole in British politics that he can fill.”
Blair recently said those who wish to remain in the European Union should “mobilise and organise” an insurgency to make the public change its mind about leaving the EU.
He has devoted much of his time since leaving office in 2007 to making money, apparently amassing a multi-million pound fortune through speechmaking and advising foreign governments.
Having done so, his representatives have supposedly been hunting for office space in London for about 130 staff for his new venture.
A senior official reportedly said: “He’s been in and out to see a lot of senior people. He is clearly pushing trying to get an insight into government thinking on Brexit and to influence that.
“He’s trying to suck information out of the system. He wants to come in to talk about development or the Middle East and then he’ll pivot.”