My guy Tony – “I’m in love” (No, not me!)

by

BREAKING: Blair to teach Religion Course in Singapore, in association with the Yale ‘Faith & Globalisation’ course. Does he EVER sleep? Or only on planes? Watch video here

Comment at end

26th March, 2009

[Key: “The Previous”  & “The Presence” = Tony Blair]

My guy Tony“I’m in love” (with a wonderful guy)

“But can you blame me? Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is hot! And I mean, dropdead gorgeous!”

This article was heart-warming for those of us in Britain who still miss The Previous, even if we’re not quite “in love” with him.  Well, we’re British, y’know – stiff upper lip and all that! It’s from a journalist in the Philippines reporting on how she and so many others were “awestruck” by The Presence in the Philippines a few days ago. Obama, eat your heart out.

Of course, this lady is NOT the only one. The British Conservative MP Michael Gove, admitted the same thing: (“I can’t fight my feelings any more: I love Tony”) (February 2003.)

So, Gove didn’t mention “hot”!  That makes it better still. His heart isn’t ruling his head. And from what I’ve seen of Gove’s interviews and policy stances since (same as Blair’s) for him the shine still hasn’t rubbed off The Presence/Previous.  I wonder if he’d love Tony to run the Tories?!  THEN what might happen to their poll numbers? Yes, I wonder.

I’ll fill Stella in on what she got wrong in the “but” department at the end, though it might make her feel even more deeply “in love”. (See her article here)

Watch my Tony Blair videos on ‘Everlasting Words’ here at the end of the page – specially for you, Stella


stellafarnaldoI WAS in awe, I was starstruck, I am in love!

There was no other time in my long years as a journalist, until last Monday, that I let my professional guard down and went visibly gaga over a VIP.

But can you blame me? Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is hot! And I mean, dropdead gorgeous! Gasp! Move over George Clooney! Okay, I take that back, maybe not George Clooney. Daniel Craig, yes.

tblair_picroydomingo

SITTING 6 feet across from this supreme specimen of the Scottish gene pool, I am excited to no end. PHOTO BY ROY DOMINGO

You see, my guy Tony would soon qualify for a free movie pass and birthday cake in Makati—if he were living in the Philippines, that is—and yet he still sizzled as much as he did when he was 43 and had just moved into 10 Downing Street.

I had known for sometime that he was coming to town for a talk on leadership at Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza. All I wished for was I’d get to attend this conference. Geez, who could afford the P25,000 ticket to hear him talk anyway? (Of course, I was wrong. Economic crisis or not, there were apparently still quite a number who would buy such a pricey ticket. I spied Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco, Alberto Lim of the Makati Business Club, former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. and many others within whispering distance of the ex-British PM/newly minted Middle East envoy of the UN, US, EU and Russia.)

Mercifully, there are advantages to being connected to a very interesting and award-winning newspaper. Not only was I able to get a good seat and hear his speech, but I also got a slot among the local journalists interviewing him afterward. Whoopee! Someone up there really loves me! (Of course, that can only be my editor in chief Chuchay Fernandez.)

So you can just imagine how excited I was days before the interview! After all, before there was a Barack Obama, there was Tony Blair, the original rock-star politico. In my generation, it was my guy Tony who made it cool for heads of state to be young and oh-so-handsome, and to be treated like celebrities much like actors and musicians. (Of course, before him was John F. Kennedy, but I had yet to be a glimmer in my parents’ future back then to appreciate the latter’s charms.)

Nothwithstanding the uncomfortable muggy temperature inside the supposedly air-conditioned Harbour Tent of the Softitel, everyone patiently waited for him to arrive. (He was having lunch at Malacañang with you-know-who.) But as soon as my guy made his entrance, our sapped spirits were lifted, the searing heat in the venue momentarily forgotten. Immediately we were drawn to his disarming smile, the fine lines at the corners of his eyes that crinkle, and never mind the double eyebags because he just looked oh-so-perfect in his dark gray suit! And, yes, there is something about that British accent that makes any old Englishman just sound sexy, never mind if he’s only saying, “Your tea, madam.”

More than the accent and his good looks, my guy Tony has other pluses that make him still quite the celebrity despite the rather regrettable business of Iraq. He has an endearing populist quality about him which he knew just how to use to his advantage. He gamely donned an ill-fitting La Salle sports jacket after receiving an award from the university, meriting wild clapping and cheering from De La Salle alumni like myself who were present. Thanking the university later, he said, “If I eat any more adobo and sinigang, I might not be able to fit in it.” More cheers around the room.

tblair_jacket

FORMER UK Prime Minister Tony Blair gamely sports a La Salle sports jacket, much to the delight of the alumni present to hear him talk on leadership at Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza. PHOTO COURTESY CAMPAIGNS AND GREY

Of course, some alumni like my batchmate Nerissa were not amused. Seeing the photo of Blair in the La Salle jacket, she commented she was ashamed that her alma mater was “hosting a war criminal” who caused the death of 650,000 Iraqis. If she could, she would’ve probably reached through the computer and bitch-slap me for posting the photo. (Wait ’til she sees my photo with him!) Seriously, until the war on Iraq, the British people thought Blair was a good leader and supported his policies, leading him to an unprecendented three terms as their PM. And until he came along, Northern Ireland was just a bloody mess. But as they say, all good things must come to an end. Learning from this experience, he acknowledged, “Every leader has his day, then you move on.”

I wasn’t the only one who was tickled pink by my guy Tony. I lost count of how many women in the audience took out their camera phones and digicams to unashamedly photograph him as he worked his speech. Even onstage, he exuded a lot of sex appeal, and with his self-deprecating humor, he delighted even the men. Not many people may know it, but my guy wanted to be a rock star and had actually played in a band called Ugly Rumours. But as he told the Sofitel audience last Tuesday, a close friend told him that “I could be a great singer…if only I had the voice. That’s how I ended up in politics instead.” (Trivia: He once dated Mary Harron, future director of I Shot Andy Warhol, American Psycho and The Notorious Bettie Page, the latter currently making the round of HBO.)

Later, sitting about 6 feet away from this supreme specimen of the Scottish gene pool, I was excited to no end. Thank God, I still had enough sense in me to use a tape recorder for the interview. Because if you take a look at my notebook, it’s almost empty except for a few scribbles, which means that I was probably staring at him for the most part of the 20 minutes we were allowed to be with him. Sure, I managed to get in a few serious questions about prospects for the Middle East and the current UK recession, but as soon as someone said that we had time to take a photo with him, I was the first by his side! Now was that frigging unprofessional, or was that frigging unprofessional?!

(Levity aside, Blair is the consummate politician. He knew exactly how to answer our questions without actually answering them. Who knows, if we had more than 20 minutes with him, perhaps we would’ve gotten more than his famous admission to Sir David Frost that Iraq was “a disaster.”)

While waiting for the photographers to whip out their cameras, I snuck in some idle chit-chat with my guy and asked him what he missed most about Downing Street. (“The people,” he answered. “Ang PR naman ng sagot nito,” I thought.) I asked if he didn’t miss the chef’s cooking, to which he answered that they actually didn’t have a chef at the PM’s residence and the food was mostly “brought in.” (Ah, yes, Jamie Oliver, I remember your 15’s dinner for the PM and Mrs. Blair’s party quite well.) After more small talk about the country’s 7,100 islands and Maria Ressa encouraging him to stay longer than 24 hours to visit some of them, my guy thanked us and took his leave. It was then I realized that I had forgotten to even introduce myself! Well, slap my forehead and talk about the world’s stupidest fan behavior! Boba!

Having tucked in about 15 years in the journalism profession, I thought nothing and no one fazed me anymore. In the course of my work and having spoken with so many local and foreign VIPs, I thought I’d be immune to celebrities like my guy Tony. Well, next time I shall strive to behave more professionally. Although thanks to him, I’ve had some practice. Next time, I know what to do to suppress my inner fan or at least not make it obvious how much I’m reeling inside. (No.1: remember my name.)

Okay, Bono, I’ll be ready for you next week.


TO STELLA: (my thoughts in blue)
“REGRETTABLE BUSINESS OF IRAQ”

1. ‘Your guy Tony’ was referring to the mess in Iraq at that time, when he was interviewed by Frost, not the fact that the invasion was “a disaster”. The press, especially the anti-Blair, anti-Bush, anti-Iraq-war British, as is their wont, leapt on this as a confession that he had got the decision to go to war wrong.  He does not, even to this day, think that he got it wrong. Neither do I, if that is if any interest to you. The ‘disaster’ was in reference to the fact that there were many still being killed when it should all have been on its way to democracy. At least three reasons for that, imho.
a) Other countries did not realise the importance of this Iraq venture for the civilised world. Or pretended they didn’t and let America, Britain and others get on with it. They still like to do that leaving it to others business (Obama referred to this hands-off [cowardly and non-leadership?] approach the other day by saying that some countries should not leave it to a few to make the right decisions for the world’s economy.)
b) The Iraq after-invasion processes had not been worked through properly; insufficient planning, perhaps even understanding of the insurgencies’ complexities. Mainly, though Blair himself does not lay blame, America’s responsibility.
c) Insufficient troops from the UN after they took over the oversight (ongoing since one month from the invasion.) This shortage linked, for reasons or excuses, to (a) above.

2. Your friend on – “hosting a war criminal who caused the death of 650,000 Iraqis”.

Blair is not a ‘war criminal’. This facile remark, cast at him and Bush constantly by the anti-press has NO support in international law. It really needs to stop. It is an insult and a betrayal of democracy. The oft-quoted number of dead is from possibly unreliable sources and is not associated to a time-frame. If it were, the UN too would be able  to be held responsible and accountable as THEY have been in control since May 2003. But which anti-Iraq war know-all calls the UN “war criminals?  NONE.  It is personal – towards Blair & Bush.

Also, most of the deaths were by imported (Iran & Syrian) suicide bombers and resident militants. NOT under the direction of BLAIR.  I am sick of people comparing Blair (and Bush) to REAL war criminals. THEY are the heroes of Baghdad.

3. And … “until the war on Iraq, the British people thought Blair was a good leader and supported his policies”

And many still did think so, after Iraq. There are no reliable numbers, just opinion polls launched, usually, in response to a particularly difficult occasion. Numbers often fluctuated according to how bad a press there was on soldiers’ and innocent civilians’ deaths. There was and still is an agenda here to discredit the good intent and even integrity of Blair and Bush. It still goes on to this day. But such people are wrong, and, imho, THEY are the Enemy Within.

When Blair first went into Iraq he had over 63% of British people with him. The ensuing and unfair discrediting of the WMD business muddied the waters, and was the main plank of the campaign against Blair. Now they think they are about to “get him” on this, as the Foreign Secretary has mentioned a new Iraq Inquiry (only the FIFTH!) They wont get him if and when such an inquiry is held, as he will be proved innocent of “lying” and of “misleading Parliament”.

But they will still NEVER accept it. They are, on the whole, a pretty unbalanced lot, imho.

4. And … “until he came along, Northern Ireland was just a bloody mess.

Absolutely right. But many in my country’s press still like to make out that Blair was only a bit-player in this settlement. To me he was central. Without him it would NOT have happened. Simple.  History will prove his opponents wrong.

Again they will still never admit this.

5. And … ‘But as they say, all good things must come to an end. Learning from this experience, he acknowledged, “Every leader has his day, then you move on.”’

REMEMBER THIS, Stella. Blair was NOT voted out by the country. His party of Little People gave him no alternative but to stand down. WHY?  Because they thought Gordon Brown would give them a better chance of winning the next election. WHAT a JOKE! His political “killing” was less to do with Iraq than it was to do with the press perception and thus with winning next time round. (Laughable to think they could win 4 times without Blair. They had never even won 3 times in a row until HE came along!)

And Brown? For 10 years he funded, as Blair’s chancellor, New Labour’s/Blair’s policies, including the Iraq war. He continues Blair’s policies in Iraq. As the Americans say “go figure”.

I really do not think Tony Blair would have been voted out by the voters in a fourth election. Next to him Brown, Cameron, their parties and the anti-Iraq war Lib Dems are all political pygmies. As well as charmless dolts. And charm and charisma DO matter it today’s politics, as you are witness to.

I even venture to suggest that if he came back now to Britain as party/country leader, the British would welcome him AND vote him back in But why should he bother? He’s already colllecting enough plus points for being the World’s Premier Statesman , thus the double bags, I guess. Why come back here to be lambasted by The Littlies?

Btw … “George Clooney”? Come on…Stella!

I put some videos together to remind people of what we once had. And of what a REAL communicator is.

Tony Blair – Everlasting Words Part 1

More Tony Blair Words  (Part 2)

‘True Leadership’:  a report on Blair’s Philippines visit




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One Response to “My guy Tony – “I’m in love” (No, not me!)”

  1. Tony Blair: The Prophet Outwith … Without … His Own Land « Tony Blair Says:

    […] My guy Tony – “I’m in love” (No, not me!) Today’s report from Singapore – starting with the phrase –  “There’s Something About Tony” – again puts the spotlight on Blair & The Reasons for Blair. […]

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