Thursday, 3 December 2009

Blair's Millions

Excellent piece from the Renegade Economist today which traces some of Tony Blair's labyrinthine collection of funds, holding companies and legal entities that he's started since handing over his mandate to Gordon Brown. According to the Renegade, he's created a "complex web of structures involving 12 different legal entities handling the unprecedented millions he is receiving since he stepped down from office in 2007."

The article goes on:

So mystifying are the former prime minister’s financial structures – which involve highly specialised limited partnerships and parallel companies – that the Guardian today launches an open invitation to tax specialists and accountants to attempt to explain the motivation behind such structures. We have published the Companies House documents and other legal papers regarding the structure of the partnerships at and invite expert comment via our site at

Thereis no suggestion Blair is doing anything illegal. But he refuses to explain the
purpose of the secretive partnerships.

Tax specialists say Blair could use these unusual arrangements at some point in the future to seek to transfer millions tax-free to his four children.
Blair denies, however, that the structures are such an inheritance tax avoidance scheme, known as a “family limited partnership”.

“Family limited partnerships” were being publicized to lawyers and accountants in November 2007 at the time Blair’s lawyers started to set up his structures.

Known in the trade as “Flips”, family limited partnerships are a way of getting round stricter inheritance tax rules in the 2006 budget, imposed by Gordon Brown while Blair was still prime minister.

'Flips', eh? Oh, the irony. Now, as yesterday evening's post on this blog shows, I'm not a little nervous about the Grauniad's journalistic standards, so I'm very pleased that an independent economics journal and blog has taken up the story. Indeed, the article then goes into far more detail than the Graun would ever dare about Blair's on-the-face-of-it legal but pretty irregular financial affairs, all designed (so the theory goes) to dodge inheritence tax, so little Leo will inherit all daddy's estimated, post-PM fortune of 14 million quid (and rising). "There, there. We won't let the beastly tax man have any of it." Perhaps Blair will be voting Tory in the next election (if he's actually registered to vote in the UK, that is).

Whichever way you choose to look at this, and the financial arrangements alone certainly seem worthy of the taxman's attention, it is worth remembering that Blair's pocket-lining at the expense of the British taxpayer, his early retirement (a breach of both a manifesto promise and of trust with 'the nation' - or 9 million suckers, rather- that gave New Labour under Blair, not Old Labour under Brown, a mandate to govern) and his subsequent ruthless exploitation of his ongoing popularity in the United States (if only they knew him as we do) are just the tip of the iceberg. They were (are?) all at it!

There can be no forgiveness for Blair for so many reasons, and he should be investigated for his dodgy businesses and questionable tax arrangements - just after he's been arrested over Iraq - but we must never forget that an awful lot more parliamentarians have been doing this under this Labour government for more than a decade and the worst, criminal offenders have been of the Labourist stripe. Now we know why. A management culture begins at the top. If the person at the top is a money-grubbing, ruthless exploiter of tax and expenses loopholes, the entire organisation's likely to follow suit. They're just copying the boss. Indeed, for the boss to feel OK about being so venal, he will positively (though quietly) encourage it. And that, folks, is called corruption.

And we've had 13 years of it. No wonder we're bankrupt: the country financially and parliament morally. Thank Brown for the former; Blair for the latter.


  1. Blair always was, and still is, the alpha "male" in the squalid saga of New Labour.

    Blair is, in the end, just a cheap, nasty liar. A nightmare figure put on this Earth to mock integrity and shit in the face of decency.

    Matthew Parris has finally figured out that Blair's at-the-time war calculations were anything but heroic and that one should not confuse the subsequent outcome with what Blair saw as a real career opportunity at the time.

    Blair "heroically" aligned himself with the most powerful nation on earth in an obviously illegal, but, so it seemed at the time, and was in many ways, easy enough oil grab that would advance his own cause quite nicely.

    That it didn't work out that way is most definitely not the point.

    Blair gave up all that rebate and still didn't land a biggie at the EU, or immunity from prosecution (wonder if that's what's haunting Mandy?)

    Tragic =)

  2. Lol. Tragic indeed. It's not so much the lies and the politics of it all that gets me, though - we're used to that. It's the weapons grade hypocrisy that really gets to me. For two jags and a couple of dachas and these swine will sell us down the river - and have.

    Time they were going.


Any thoughts?