Opinion: Our ex-emperor seeks his new clothes

Once it was just his government misusing charities to get service-providing deals on the cheap through underfunded contracts.

Now, if we believe a flurry of off-the-record briefings, the first ex-emperor of Britain will use charities to repair his squandered reputation by both establishing his own and getting close to others, such as Bill Clinton's foundation.

If we were not enduring the tragedy of Tony's hubris, with the world aflame from the war and terrorism his actions have fostered, it might be amusing that the charity's purpose is said to be healing religious divides and seeking peace. He whose spokesman once said "we don't do God" expects philanthropists to divert millions from other charities into his endeavour to secure the redemption of call-me-Tony.

Apparently, this is not because of Blair's own religious fervour (anyone want odds on a conversion to Catholicism?), but because of the deliberations of a secret cabal. It's a standard New Labour quartet: one ringtone salesman, a Euro-banker, plus a City PR specialist and an old political handmaiden. Together, they are worth a billion or so. It's yet more evidence of our man's simple ways.

The cabal wants TB to "do a Clinton", going into the wilderness that is first-class travel, five-star hotels and armed guards while travelling on charitable business to heal the world. After the requisite 40 days and 40 nights (a couple of years, say), he can scoop the charity treble of the £800,000 Templeton Prize, the $1.5m Hilton Humanitarian Prize and the EUR1m Nobel Peace Prize. Only then will he cash in on the high-price lecture circuit, multimillion book deals and a retirement behind high walls.

We may learn more of this at a charity communications conference tomorrow, when Charity Communications 2007 features Blair's former necromancer, Alastair Campbell, who offered the emperor a constant supply of new clothes and equally concealing catchphrases.

Campbell is in reality an anti-alchemist, turning election victory gold into the basest metals of suspicion, doubt and anger. But he may be able to help his old boss with one task: the charity's name.

Although Tony's cronies have been registering websites for a Blair Foundation, the name already exists as the mouthpiece for a US evangelist and contains a hint of cover-up cosmetics. If it was called the Blair Trust this would raise the question: who still trusts Tony?

- Nick Cater is a consultant, speaker and writer. 

 

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