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26th October 2010
[My words in this post are in grey, to differentiate them from The Sun’s (in black and red)]
A couple of interesting items in today’s news regarding The Man. One, that he may be recalled to the Iraq Inquiry; two, that his wife Cherie sold a bookplate on e-Bay.
In the good ol’ British way of getting things a*se backwards, I’ll start at the end. That way Sun readers will realise I know what I’m talking about.
‘TONY Blair’s wife Cherie flogged the ex-PM’s autograph for �10 on eBay, The Sun can reveal’
Titled “Cheri-ebay”, the “exclusive” by Nick Parker has this subtitle:
Mega-rich barrister Cherie, 56, advertised a signed “bookplate” page which fits copies of Mr Blair’s autobiography A Journey.
I am using the Sun’s whole article here below, pasted as is. I DO hope they won’t sue me. They won’t get much – anything, if they do.
From The Sun:
It was originally offered for �25 on the web auction site but sold for a tenner on an account registered to the former first lady at the Blairs’ �3.7million London pile.
FIRST OF ALL – WHY I CONTEND MY FELLOW BRITS ARE DIM (“freedom-hating” later)
Reading the comments at The Sun – OK, I know, it’s The Sun – one is forced to the depressing conclusion that one has to be a half-wit to be British.
The news that Cherie Blair sold a bookplate with her husband’s signature on it has the usual suspects squealing “greed” cries. Not ONE of the dullards seems to have noticed that she REFUNDED the ten pounds! Not ONE! The buyer got it FREE.
You might expect that the grateful buyer would wish to highlight this little fact OR that the press in their usual hunt-the-truth manner would be likely to look at the WHOLE picture and not just the part they have twisted into a nonsensical “greedy Blairs” story.
Not on your life.
The point of Cherie’s give-away (btw, she hardly needs a £10 sale … minus eBay’s charges) is seemingly lost on these commenters. Well, it isn’t on me.
Her point is simple.
IF ‘PEACE-LOVING’ RENT-A-MOBBERS DIDN’T THREATEN HER HUSBAND AND THOSE LAW-ABIDING PEOPLE WHO WISHED HIM TO SIGN THEIR COPIES OF HIS MEMOIR THERE WOULD BE NO CALL FOR THIS EBAY CASHING IN BY OTHERS.
There are, in case you don’t know, plenty of people right now trying to sell for a profit signed copies of Blair’s “A Journey”.
I used capitals and bolding above purposely. Otherwise the dim just won’t get it. They still probably won’t.
when those who purport to uphold liberty, freedom of speech and freedom of association for ALL, and as at Open Democracy still argue with mealy mouths against both for Tony Blair and his admirers, we know this country is deep in the smelly stuff.
Alone, of authors in this country, the author of ‘A Journey’ is literally and de facto NOT FREE to sign copies of his own book without costing the taxpayer thousands to protect him and the public from rentamob.
Alone, of politicians in this country, this politician is unable to hold an open meeting without the need to fight off puerile know-all “arresters” or even the harsher threats of some so-called anti-war people intent on delivering so-called justice.
Back to The SUN. So, what’s “bizarre” about this?
The SUN: Part-time judge Cherie last night admitted hawking her husband’s moniker – but offered a bizarre explanation about why she did it.
Her spokesman said: “Cherie Blair was cross that people were selling Tony Blair’s signature when you can get one for free.”
Except that you can’t get one free. Why? You should be able to get his signature free. He is perfectly willing to sign copies of his book with no charge for the signature, of course, but …
Tony Blair has been prevented by security and cost concerns regarding anti-war protestors, so-called civil-righters, so-called freedom-fighters, anarchists, anti-America/anti-west/anti-Israel juvenile-brained ”thinkers” from appearing ANYWHERE in public in Britain. This situation is an utter disgrace and has been largely ignored by our freedom-loving press.
“She was trying to undermine the market and as soon as someone bought it, she refunded it straight away to make the point.”
But the strange sale looked certain to spark huge embarrassment for the Blairs – who are regularly accused of cashing in on the ex-PM’s high office. It will also further call into question Cherie’s wisdom and ability to sit in judgment at trials.
Curious eBay browsers had no idea Cherie was involved in the sale as no name was provided with her ad.
The SUN knows that names are seldom provided with eBay ads. Only signature IDs are required.
But regular web trader Paul Hurworth’s jaw dropped as he twigged the identity behind the account number.
He sold a silver butter knife and glass dish to the account for �24.99 a year ago. And his records showed it was registered to Cherie at the Blair family’s main London residence.
Does anyone else see any breaking of eBay’s codes of behaviour in Mr Hurworth giving out this information so freely about another eBay account holder? Selling his story to THE SUN? Of course not.
(More of the hypocrisy of the “freedom-hating” later.)
Antiques dealer Paul, of Pickering, North Yorks, said: “I realised who I’d been dealing with last year and kept an eye on the account out of curiosity. But I was astonished when I saw the Blair signature on Cherie’s site.
“It was first on offer for �25 but when there were no takers it was reduced to �20, then finally a tenner.”
Paul, 35, added: “The normal fear is making sure the item is genuine.
“But there’s obviously no problem in this case.
“It seems odd she would do something like this to try to get some point across. Why would she keep reducing the price if she wasn’t trying to sell it? No matter how you look at it, it’s an embarrassing thing to do for a tenner when you’re worth millions.”
Quite: “Why would she etc..”? Because it was NOT about the money dumbasses!
Cherie’s pitch featured a photo of Mr Blair’s signature above the words: “This bookplate has been signed by the former Prime Minister.” It added: “This item fits perfectly in to Tony Blair’s new book. This is a hand-signed book plate and not a [sic] autopen or copy.”
It was unclear last night whether Mr Blair, now a Middle East peace envoy, was aware of the sale.
Since leaving No10 in 2007, he is estimated to have made �25million from lectures and consultancy deals. The Blairs have also amassed property worth �15million, including FOUR houses in London and a country estate in Buckinghamshire.
But Cherie often uses eBay. Her purchases include Lego and salt and pepper shakers.
So, point made by Nick Parker, the writer of this stuff: the greedy Blairs. The reality and complexity (simplicity, in actual fact) of this whole “deal” was not clearly focussed or emphasised. The return of the money did not register with the readers. Job done, Mr Parker.
This article was little more than a quick reminder that the Blairs are worth millions. The word “FOUR” was Nick Parker’s bolding, not mine. That’s the touchwire that lights the fuse of ugly envy, dislike and distrust that the name of Blair ignites. It’s beyond the average Sun reader to work out that ten pounds is worth zilch to Mr and Mrs Blair. It is beyond the senseless dimwitted that Cherie Blair did not sell the item to raise a tenner.
Even this sentence accuses Cherie, in order to further make sure that people miss HER point:
“She was trying to undermine the market and as soon as someone bought it, she refunded it straight away to make the point.”
The real point is that after more than three years out of Downing Street her husband still needs a huge security detail in order to do what most of us take for granted – go outside his own front door.
THAT is shameful. Its effects rebound on his private life and in particular on his family life. It should be stopped immediately and the law of harassment should be used against those who somehow think they are above the law.
If Cherie Blair, as an eBay user, had sent the press details of the buyer who ‘bought’ this bookplate, stating or even NOT stating that she had refunded the money to him, what do you think the press would be doing?
I’ll tell you: they’d be all over her for betraying his confidentiality. She wouldn’t have any praise for giving the bookplate away.
But for her, in the same situation thanks to Mr Paul Hurworth, no-one is questioning any abuse of HER rights as a private citizen.
Antiques dealer Paul Hurworth of Pickering, North Yorks should be thoroughly ashamed of himself. A complaint to eBay might be in the offing.
The whole article stinks.
NOW, WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT ‘FREEDOM HATING’ HYPOCRITICAL BRITS?
It’s part and parcel of all the above.
FREEDOM? IT’S NOT PARTIAL
The literati and the liberal ‘intelligentsia’ who dominate the British press selfishly, yes SELFISHLY, don their “we care” t-shirts while snarling like bloodthirsty dogs at the throat of Tony Blair for what they consider British loss of civil rights. They throw in such unproven yet tasty and descriptive phrases as “liar”, “Yankee poodle” and “war criminal” just for the flavour. Then they stand back and watch while the gullible swallow it all, chew it over, regurgitate it and spit out the cud.
It never once crosses these little minds that only since we had Tony Blair as Prime Minister did we have Freedom of Information (and I am not at all surprised he regrets this), the Human Rights Act (if he doesn’t regret this, perhaps he should) and devolution of powers away from London to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But, of course it DOES cross their little minds. It just doesn’t serve their purposes to remind us of them. ANY of them.
That is not freedom and it is not impartial. It is partial in the extreme and is thus a betrayal of all that these civil and human righters say they believe in.
Paul Richards at Labour List had a good old go at defending Tony Blair’s freedom of association and criticising those who attacked it after the cancelled Waterstone’s book signing. But a glance at most of his commenters shows you just what an issue understanding REAL freedom is even for many in Labour when a politician’s decisions conflict with their opinions. THEY KNOW, by instinct or by their amazing ability to get inside Mr Blair’s head exactly WHY he cancelled his London book-signing – and it had nothing to do with concern over anyone else or anything else.
Honestly, I despair. I DO. Really, I do.
In 1997 (yes, I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong – it was only 1997 – he wasn’t a ‘war criminal’ then) the Protection from Harassment Act became law. By rights people who constantly strive to make Tony Blair’s life hell should be arrested, charged with such harassment under this law and locked up if and when found guilty UNDER THE LAW.
They would be so arrested and charged if they were harassing you or me in this way.
But since the assumption is that it’s only Tony Blair at the receiving end of this torrent of vitriol and virtual internal exile the perpetrators are completely ignored. Their robbing of one man’s integrity and freedom (and therefore OUR freedom) to meet in a public place is by-passed by the insane and hypocritical ‘liberal’ civil/human righters. The fact that no one is ever charged with anything over what I consider unforgivable robbing of individuals’ civil and human rights lends credence to the widespread acceptance that politicians, even when retired from domestic politics, have no rights. They have no human rights afforded to the rest of us including the right to be free from harassment. Especially so if the papers say that a lot of us don’t agree with them and/or don’t happen to like them. Utterly unbelievable, hypocritical, freedom-hating nonsense.
As for those of us who do NOT pre-judge malevolently Mr Blair (on Iraq or any other issue) we can all like it or lump it.
I do realise that this attitude has gone too far for anything I say about the universality of real freedom to make a difference. Today’s zeitgeist is that politicians like Blair can escape and have escaped due process under the law because of friends in high places or a corrupt system, probably both. So, it concludes, said politicians must suffer the lack of free association in public without threat or hindrance. If this state of affairs continues to their dying day, who CARES?
It is disgraceful that we should swallow this situation without complaint. Especially when we Brits complain unreservedly about plenty of other things.
Open Democracy and its ilk are more concerned, FAR more concerned about the “torture” of non-British resident Binyam Mohamed than they are about the freedom of a former British prime minister to walk untrammelled in his own land. In the same untrammelled freedom that his period in office left the rest of us.
And another thing – if Cherie Blair as an eBay user had sent the press personal details of the buyer who bought this bookplate, stating or even NOT stating that she had refunded the money to him, what do you think the press would be doing?
I’ll tell you: they’d be all over her for betraying his confidentiality. But for her, in the same situation now thanks to Mr Paul Hurworth no-one is questioning any abuse of HER rights as a private citizen.
Sounds remarkably like – ‘once free‘.
1. Cherie’s eBay “sale” also reported here at One India. And here where this report doesn’t even realise that the buyer was NOT surprised that Cherie Blair was the seller. He admits to having kept tabs on her account for some time. Nor does this story mention that Mr Hurworth SOLD his story to The Sun. Nor that the buyer did NOT make any issue of the fact he actually got his win for FREE.
Apart from that, it’s all true.
2. The Telegraph, which not being of the LEFT, doesn’t hate the Blairs as much as do some other papers, also tells that on eBay Cherie has sold a watch given to Tony from Berlusconi. Why not? He paid for it on leaving Downing Street, as is required of all retiring PMs, even though it was given to him as a gift. What? You don’t get it? That’s British fair play for you – clean noses and all that stuff. We can’t be seen to profit from gifts. So Cherie sold it at a loss, less than a third of its value.
AND WHAT WAS THE OTHER LITTLE THING I MENTIONED AT THE START?
Oh, yes. It seems Tony Blair may be recalled to provide evidence to the Iraq Inquiry. “May” being the operative word. The Guardian says he will and they even KNOW why! OOOOOH!!!
Of course The Guardian has been known to get one or two things wrong, from time to time. In this article the caption to their picture has the wrong month.
Mr Blair did NOT give his evidence in February, but in January, as my ticket below shows. On little details like that people’s lives and freedom depend, Guardianistos.
But, if he is recalled, and such a request has not been confirmed by the Chilcot Inquiry office, and if it’s in public, that’ll be another opportunity for the odd 100-odd to dust off their placards as they did in January when I was fortunate enough to have had a ticket to attend. My report of Mr Blair’s six hours long evidence session is here
- Iraq Inquiry Special Afternoon Session: Tony Blair
- Iraq Inquiry Special Morning Session: Tony Blair
- Stan Rosenthal, a moderate voice of NON-pre-Judgement of Blair has to PAY to be heard
- Rentoul to BBC on Iraq Inquiry – “No, it’s NOT a trial.” (I was witness to this too!)
- Tony Blair asks at the Iraq Inquiry: “Who is killing them?”
- Tony Blair at Iraq Inquiry – ONE report with NO opining
- Iraq Inquiry Special, New Statesman: Press Release – Ban Blair-Baiting petition
Mr Blair gave a good account of himself and his decisions at the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry. For those with ears to listen.
EARLIER RELEVANT POSTS AT THIS BLOG
- Open Democracy asks: Should we be worried about Blair’s free speech?
- Tony Blair’s Book Best-Seller EVER at Amazon. Got it, scum-mob?
- Jeremy Vine hears from admirers of “The Great Tony Blair” (Radio 2)
- Tony Blair book-signing is off. They’ve won. Inmates running the asylum
1. Saddam’s former Deputy Prime Minister – (Christian) Tariq Aziz sentenced to death in an Iraqi court today. (See video at The Telegraph.) Personally I do not agree with the death penalty, except for child rapists and murderers. I’m strange in that way. But many civil and human righters will scream that it is the west who have condemned this man to die.
2. Robert Fisk fisking it again. Here, as Muslims attack Christians and chase them out of the Middle East, guess whose fault Fisk suggests it is?
In a comment on Booth’s conversion, one entry on a Muslim internet forum, published by the Daily Mail, read: ‘Now a war criminal has an innocent sister in law! God bless her!’
4. The Daily Mail has a very fair and balanced article by Eve Ahmed, who was brought up as Muslim, but abandoned Islam at aged 18, asking “Why are so many modern British career woman converting to Islam?”
‘With a recent YouGov survey concluding that more than half the British public believe Islam to be a negative influence that encourages extremism, the repression of women and inequality, one might ask why any of them would choose such a direction for themselves.
Yet statistics suggest Islamic conversion is not a mere flash in the pan but a significant development. Islam is, after all, the world’s fastest growing religion, and white adopters are an important part of that story.[…]
Evidence suggests that the ratio of Western women converts to male could be as high as 2:1.
5. This article by male writer Peyvand Khorsandi also discussing Lauren Booth’s conversion takes a far firmer stance against this choice to convert. A commenter says, presumably correctly, as it has not been moderated out by the writer, that “Peyvand Khorsandi is the son of the exiled Iranian satirist Hadi Khorsandi. He is himself a Muslim and quite rightly directing some vitriol towards this vile Iranian regime and any sycophantic numpties that cannot see the wood for the trees. There are certain Liberal-Lefties in our society who would actually join the enemy in some perverse attempt to justify their own skewed political views. Personally I think she is a very naive and perhaps an unbalanced individual.”
6. It’ll be interesting to see how THIS turns out. A World On Trial series where the world’s big issues are debated, discussed and decided on in a court-room situation. In this pilot edition they are looking at the French ban on head-coverings in schools in France. Guess who is the presiding judge? Cherie Booth/Blair. Hmmm…
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
“Mr. Blair is one of the finest politicians to have had the privilege of serving the United Kingdom, and Britons are fortunate to have had him as their Prime Minister. Time will show that Mr. Blair’s approach to affairs in the Middle East were and remain correct. From a member of the Commonwealth, thank you, Mr. Blair, for your continued service to legitimate and lasting (and not convenient or politically expedient) freedom.”
AND – “Tony Blair was the greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and the only regret I have he didn’t get my vote as I live in Canada.”
AND – “I am sick and tired of television and radio interviewers asking the same old questions over and over, regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, presumably they hope Mr Blair will let slip some secret information which they would then use against him. History will show if the decision was the right one, (I believe it was) but people must accept that Tony Blair is an honourable man, and made his decision based on the known facts and not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.”
Tags: a journey, ban blair baiting petition, Blair recalled, book-signing, Bookplate, Cheri ebay, Cherie Blair, Cherie ebay, Chilcot Inquiry, civil unrest, death sentence, Dublin, eBay, evidence conflicting, Iraq, Iraq inquiry, lauren booth, Nick Parker, Paul Hurworth, picture, prime minister, rentamob, Sun, Tariq Aziz, The Sun, Tony Blair, war criminal, women converting to Islam, World on Trial