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May 25, 2012


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Simon Kane

"Even those who still don't like him have learnt a wary respect for his loyalty to the causes and people he cares about, for the astuteness of his analyses, and for his apparent lack of fear."

That's a baffling assertion. Be honest, you made that up.


"it marks an important stage in the decontamination of the Alastair Campbell brand."

But this is Portland who do work for the Kazak regime and so "decontamination" does not appear to me to be the most astute choice of word. I write this not as someone who whines about "illegal wars" and "dodgy dossiers" but rather someone who is disappointed with the direction Blair et al seem to be taking in their post-governmental roles.

Nick Cohen's article on Sunday in the Observer is striking when sat next to yours because the theme is similar but he manages to reach the opposite conclusion.

Ian Leslie

Simon, you're right, I have no data to support my contention. That's to say, I made it up.

Brian: you may know more about the balance between repression and reform in Kazakhstan than I do. Personally I can't condemn Portland, Blair etc for taking money from them, without knowing more about the government there. Sometimes it's a good thing to work with bad regimes if you think they can be led into the light. Unlike Cohen et al, I'm prepared to give Blair and Campbell the benefit of the doubt on this: I don't believe either of them are cynical people.

The idea that Blair is driven by monetary gain seems to conflict with the other popularly held caricature of him, which is that he has a messiah complex. I think the latter is closer to the truth, actually. He still wants to change the world and be someone who counts; everything he does is in the service of that goal. That's my reading of him anyway.

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