Posts Tagged ‘happy birthday’

Happy Birthday Tony Blair. Unhappy Political Art Appreciation to Others

May 6, 2014

6th May 2014

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Happy Birthday, Mr Blair

Tony Blair Portrait ny Alastair Adams

Tony Blair Portrait by Alastair Adams


Alastair Adams Portrait

Opining, also known as writing for the press, is neither. It is seldom disinterested reportage.

But it really takes the biscuit paint palette when a so-called art critic allows his opinion on a politician’s politics to define the smudged edges of his critique. Into that category falls this, by Martin Newman of the Daily Mirror.

It is weirdly headlined “…but does it show the real him?”  Oh for God’s sake – NO! It shows the woman who makes your latte at Espresso Opinions R US, Mr Newman!

This critic also has odd ideas about family pictures on a desk – “Tellingly the photographs on his desk face away. He is a family man, but they are just part of his priorities.” Martin Newman suggests that the family photographs (Are they? How does he know?) facing away from Mr Blair (who is standing in front of his desk) means his family are not of major importance to him.

I ask in all seriousness – where do they find these art critics? In the same recycling bin as they find political critics?


Misfiring on several cylinders, Mr Newman gives us the benefits of his own thoughts on Blair’s political attributes with, “Technically the painting is very good, harmonious and balanced, with the viewers eye drawn immediately to the misfiring Middle East peace envoy’s face.”

Before we get to the finale of the critique – the halo / messianic jibes – a  requirement of ANY Blair criticism worth its stinging salt – we get this gem:

“Adams, the President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, first painted Blair in 2011.  His previous effort [EFFORT!?] had the sitter staring intensely at the viewer, his mouth in an almost rictus sneer and teeth set as though ready to jump out of the canvas and bite you.”

Alastair Adams Portrait of Tony Blair

Alastair Adams Portrait of Tony Blair; “rictus sneer” according to Art Critic Martin Newman

This Adams portrait, on the left, is evidently the sneerey bitey one.

Like the new painting it is an excellent piece of portraiture, Mr Adams (website here)


Tony Blair sketch by Jonathan Yeo, during 2001 election campaign

Tony Blair, 2001, by Jonathan Yeo

While googling about I came across this much earlier portrait of the former PM (right).

Painted by Jonathan Yeo, it was completed during the general election of 2001 and shows a younger, but for that period an unusually serious Blair. I rather like it. It’s certain he would never have expected at that time how many in the press, and thus some in the chatterati, literati and twitterati would grow to despise him.

Speaking of critics & well-wishers, Mr Blair, I’m sure Dan Hodges really wishes you well on your birthday, even if you do look better in jeans than he probably does. Dan & I chat now and then on twitter.



The blog’s new banner won’t influence your vote, I’m sure

May 5, 2010
  • Original Home Page – And another very early post from this blog
  • Current Latest Page
  • All Contents of Site – Index
  • Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here. “He’s not a war criminal. He’s not evil. He didn’t lie. He didn’t sell out Britain or commit treason. He wasn’t Bush’s poodle. He hasn’t got blood on his hands. The anti-war nutters must not be allowed to damage Blair’s reputation further. He was a great PM, a great statesman and a great leader.”
  • Comment at end

    6th May 2010


    For some time I’ve been meaning to replace the previous banner.  So, I have adapted this one from the original which was  used for Mr Blair’s recent speaking engagements in Malaysia. If anyone has any objection to this, I’ll remove it of course.

    It may well be that Mr Blair too will not be exactly excited about the implication behind the thought.

    Tony Blair is 57 today, 6th May, the day of the 2010 general election. A big day for him. Perhaps bigger still for Labour.

    Who’d want to lead the British public right now, anyway!?

    Personally I’m disillusioned …

    … with the voters.

    A video of this historic landslide night (apologies for the quality)

    UK General Election 1997 – Election Night Results Aftermath Report

    In 1997 Labour ended 18 years in the political wilderness in spectacular style.

    The party returned to power with a parliamentary landslide, winning the biggest majority held by any government since 1935.

    Tony Blair’s New Labour had gained a staggering 179-seat overall majority in the Commons as the Conservatives were tossed aside by the voters.

    The election also saw the Liberal Democrats put in a remarkable performance, more than doubling their number of MPs despite taking a reduced share of the vote compared with 1992.

    In the election’s aftermath, commentators speculated whether it was at all possible for the Conservatives to overturn such a huge majority in a single election.

    UK General Election 1997 – Tony Blair’s Victory Speech

    “New Labour” won a landslide victory in the 1997 general election, ending 18 years of Conservative Party government, with the heaviest Conservative defeat since 1832.

    “A new dawn has broken, has it not?”

    Talking about a new dawn –

    Happy Birthday, Mr Blair.

    DENSHAW, UNITED KINGDOM - May 04: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is given a cake by Alex Haigh, watched by Phil Woolas (left), the Labour candidate for Oldham East and Saddleworth, during a visit to the Rams Head Inn on May 4th in Denshaw, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dave Thompson/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

    Hopefully, after the votes are in, you won’t find your party splitting into 57 varieties of Labour supporters.  If so, it’s just as well you have one or two things to be getting on with – Tony Blair Office website.

    [Pictures from Daylife]

    Here at Oliver Kamm’s – a nice little accolade for fellow-Blairite, John Rentoul.

    From Rentoul’s, aka Just about the Last Blairite Columnist in Britain:

    “Proud to step forward to receive the above accolade from Alex Massie, who blogs for The Spectator here. He has awarded me the title of JALBCB in his blog guide to the British election for New Republic and National Public Radio in the US.”

    Perhaps I should award my little self this title – TFALLAMTBBB – since no-one else has. (Answers not on a postcard please.)

    And from AP

    “It’s also possible that as early as Friday, Cameron will take the keys to London’s No. 10 Downing Street after ousting the 59-year-old Brown.

    If Cameron defied the predictions of almost every opinion poll and won outright with a single-digit majority, it would be in stark contrast to Blair’s landslide 1997 victory for Labour. Blair won a total of 418 seats, his party’s largest number ever; a party needs 326 seats to command a parliamentary majority.

    Polls late Tuesday showed Britain on course for a hung Parliament.”

    Good God! 418 SEATS! I’d forgotten just how many.

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    All Tony Blair wants for his birthday on the Big Day, May 6th is…

    May 4, 2010
  • Original Home Page – And another very early post from this blog
  • Current Latest Page
  • All Contents of Site – Index
  • Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here. “He’s not a war criminal. He’s not evil. He didn’t lie. He didn’t sell out Britain or commit treason. He wasn’t Bush’s poodle. He hasn’t got blood on his hands. The anti-war nutters must not be allowed to damage Blair’s reputation further. He was a great PM, a great statesman and a great leader.”
  • Comment at end

    4th May 2010




    Is this the New, New Labour Message?

    Not that I’d dream of putting words into Mr Blair’s mouth. And such a ‘coronation’ would not be what David Miliband wants anyway. Look what happened the last time! Apart from that he wouldn’t get it.

    If Gordon Brown fails to win outright or more particularly fails to win a  share of power both Ed Balls and Alistair Darling are likely to throw their hats into the leadership ring.  And, if Mr Brown stands down after a Labour defeat, Harriet Harman automatically takes over as Labour leader.

    So that’ll be at least a three-horse race.

    The question begged by all of this is – what happens if Labour wins outright with Gordon Brown in place?

    Do you think he’ll still go gracefully?

    Me neither.


    Tony Blair campaigns alongside Jacqui Smith yesterday - with a birthday wish for a Labour victory. Mr Blair, 57 on Thursday, was in the ex-Home Secretary's constituency in Redditch, Worcs, and said: "As a present, I want Jacqui back as MP and a fourth term for the Labour government."

    Happy Birthday to Tony…

    Whatever happens on Thursday.


    James Kirkup points to the Brown reference to not cashing in

    I noticed that too, but initially I decided to treat it with the contempt it deserves. But Julie also mentions this.

    Presumably when he refers to business he means Africa Governance, bed nets, inte-religious organisations, sports academies.

    Of course Brown’s lack of interest in business etc may just have something to do with the fact that he may not have the aptitude, nous or pulling power for any of it.

    Unlike his predeccesor.

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    If Tony Blair looks ‘old and sick’ – I’m a Tory party member AND I’ll vote Lib Dem!

    May 1, 2010
  • Original Home Page – And another very early post from this blog
  • Current Latest Page
  • All Contents of Site – Index
  • Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here. “He’s not a war criminal. He’s not evil. He didn’t lie. He didn’t sell out Britain or commit treason. He wasn’t Bush’s poodle. He hasn’t got blood on his hands. The anti-war nutters must not be allowed to damage Blair’s reputation further. He was a great PM, a great statesman and a great leader.”
  • Comment at end

    1st May 2010



    Before I get started – NO, he hasn’t got AIDS, nor a wasting disease, nor a terminal illness, nor a broken spirit damned by God (More where that came from.)

    Right, where was I?

    Some of the papers are having an over-excited song-and-dance about one of the photographs of Tony Blair taken at Harrow yesterday; this one (right).

    It was not the most flattering of the photographs taken, true.  So, naturally many of our evil opportunity-minded papers ran with it. In fact ALL the other pictures taken on that day were far better. I’ve used a few of them here. Sourced from DayLife, same place as the press, no doubt.

    If I thought some of our opportunist journalists and their repulsive commenters at The Telegraph were capable of answering anything honestly, I might ask:

    Have YOU never had a bad picture taken? One which caught you in a bad light? One that picked up your worst features, highlighted your shortcomings? Or are you all photogenic feasts for the eyes? Like the rest of us average individuals on the average British street?

    I’d also ask these obnoxious press analysts and their ugly commenters a supplementary question:

    Dug out a picture you don’t like yet? Did the awfulness of the one bad picture you might admit to actually mean anything seriously awful? Did it indicate that you were suddenly old before your time? Or that your evident weight loss meant you were suffering from AIDS with maybe a year or two left on this earth? Or did it mean that you were now being punished by the Almighty for your “evil doings”?

    I’d ask, if there was any point in it. There isn’t, when it comes to the deranged.

    Like pointing up Mr Blair’s money, his friends in high places, his kudos worldwide, his attraction as the Blair Brand, his top-of-the bill drawing power at speaking events, his not being a Tory, his being the most successful Labour leader ever, his being an unbeatable leader, their fuss has nothing to do with anything real.

    It’s all wrapped up in their self-justification for their irrational hatred of the man. For that, these people should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.


    Two articles at the Telegraph/ Torygraph, caught my eye. This article is useful for the video, so you know what he sounded and looked like.  But this one is even more interesting for the commenters – “Why does Tony Blair look so old and frail?”

    The Blair hating insanity is on display here for all to see.  He’s either sick or old, usually both, and being punished by God for his ‘sins’ thrown in for good righteous measure. Righteous ignorance is all over the British press. In fact it’s a requirement to work or comment on most of them.


    I too have wondered recently if Mr Blair with all his travels and various duties, has been eating enough. That’s between him, his weighing scales and his doctor.  MOST of us are overweight, not underweight.


    I am sure he is perfectly fit and well, but let’s play a game of “what ifs”.

    I wonder if these critics ever wonder if their comments are in any way fair, right, empathetic or even balanced? They’re certainly not humane or considerate. What if he IS ill? What if he does lie awake at night reflecting, worrying, struggling with his conscience? What if he is suffering from some sort of breakdown resulting from their constant words of hate. The words that result in him and, to an extent, his family being unable to walk unaccompanied by security in their own land? What if he is even suffering from something terminal?

    These careless bastards wouldn’t answer such “what ifs”, except perhaps with a shrug, and a “well deserved”.

    But what if it had been a Tory prime minister who had taken us into Iraq, or had introduced laws the haters didn’t like, or had been running the country since 1997? Would they still hound him in this way? You know the answer.

    I’ve listed a few typical comments from the Telegraph just so you know the sort of people who might well be running our country – by the end of next week.



    “Mr Blair, I arrest you for crimes against peace and being an accessory to the murder of Dr David Kelly.
    Please come with me to a police station where you will be fingerprinted, photographed and have your dna taken (and stored forever).
    You are not obliged to say anything because we know you are guilty.”

    They KNOW, you know.


    “In fact if you don’t mind we’ll just enjoy the spectacle of watching Blair slide into an early grave. That will give us something to cheer about anyway.”

    Very pleasant.


    “Gratifying to see that Yo Liar! is ageing incrementally. Disappointing, though, to note that the recent orange hue of his complexion seems to have faded only to a shade of unhealthy yellow – I was hoping it might be something fatal.”

    And I’m sure he sends you his kind regards, too.



    Guilt. Lots of it.

    And it would be absolute injustice, if he escapes justice with an early medical death.”

    For God’s sake! Grow up!


    “Could he be in the early stages of AIDS?”

    Jesus wept.


    “I do not think I can possibly add to Velocity’s comprehensive characterisation of this perma-tanned little shit. Perhaps he will has some terminal wasting disease. Unlikely, life isn’t fair.”

    Clearly life is unfair. As when they handed out the braincells in your little incursion into existence.


    “Too much sun.

    Not enough sleep.

    Too much looking over his shoulder and wondering if he’d be better off with a cyanide capsule than being had up as a war criminal.

    Wondering too if protecting BAE ‘in the national interest’ will backfire on him.”

    Keep taking the tablets, Mr Cyanide. You and your fellow Telegraph travellers.


    “He definitely doesn’t look well and has certainly degenerated rapidly in recent years. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s dead within 2 or 3 years by the look of him.

    Good riddance. Thieving, lieing, deceitful, crooked, traitorous, ruinous scumbag! And that’s putting it mildly.”

    Oh, FGS!!!


    “The wages of sin?”

    Comes to all of us, even the rich and famous. We are, so they tell me, all sinners.


    “They say too much sun is seriously aging for the skin.

    I will not dwell on his sins/crimes that others are doing a good job on, but agree that the dramatic change suggests he has a serious underlying health problem, which he discovered 3 years ago hence his rapid departure, he didn’t need the stress of GB, PM duties, and project managing the whitewashing/deeply interring of all the skeletons he had in legions around and behind him.

    He really does deserve time in a cell, and cell mates, Mandelson, Campbell, Prentice and Brown. Now that would be justice, and next door, Straw, the sillibands, Harman, Balls and Malik.

    Next door to that lot, Smith, Beckett, Blears, Scotland and the authors wife.

    Overcrowding, yep, but then that is what they deliberately engineered for the prisons and others and the result would be true justice for the crimes against the country.”

    What *ollocks. This comment and ALL of the above Telegraph comments.

    What mean-spirited, nasty-minded, inhuman commenters hang out at The Telegraph. And folks, these are supposed to be the intellectually capable element of the press’s readership.

    Where do these idiots get all this junk? The drip-drip-drip of rumour, innuendo, lies and misrepresentations put about year in year out by THE PRESS, of course.  Destroying people’s reputations and thus destroying people seems to be the fallback position when they cannot be beaten through rational argument or at the polling booths.

    Click to go back to top

    Another video from Mr Blair’s Harrow visit here (Sorry about the ad at the start. It is the Daily Maul, via ITN)

    By the way, did you realise it was 13 years ago today – 1st May 1997 – when Labour swept all away in the first of their landslide victories.  Mr Blair looked like this, then. (Tony Blair, Wikipedia). No, I didn’t vote for them. I would now for sure, if…

    It’s hardly arguable that Tony Blair looked a lot younger in 1997. But it was 13 years ago. And though he was almost 44 he was at that time 10 years older than he actually looked.  What intrigues me is how dependent Labour was on him personally, and how much he was then valued.  His picture graced the cover of their manifesto.

    How does this compare to other manifestos, then and now?  Brown? Cameron? That deserves a separate post.

    I also wonder what he’ll be thinking and feeling at the next election? It happens to be on his birthday  – in 5 days time.

    Thursday, 6th MAY 2010

    Perhaps I should wish him a happy birthday NOW. Just in case he doesn’t get the result he wants on Thursday.

    More DayLife photos here – Just put in the name you are looking for to get the latest news pictures.

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