Sunday, 30 October 2011

The chair of Blair

Last Monday I spotted Cherie Blair eyeing up furniture at a preview of the auction of several smart Central London homes. As Mrs Blair sat, looking rather forlorn, in a leather armchair, I was left contemplating the progress of her and her family to millionairedom.

A pair of circa 1930-1950 French leather buttoned oak armchairs that Mrs Blair was spotted sat in at the Christie's South Kensington £1.7million London Living auction (Lot 1416, guide £3,000-£5,000, achieved £7,500)

Since leaving office, the Blair family have seen their personal wealth soar into the mega league. Just like the Clintons in America before them, the Blairs have moved into a world of socialising with billionaires, buying antiques in Sotheby’s and Christie’s and travelling by private jet and helicopter. With a personal wealth conservatively estimated at £60 million and nine properties around the world, by post-Prime Ministerial career standards this represents a phenomenal success especially when compared to Blair’s predecessors. Sir John Major and Lady Thatcher, in financial terms, are actually both relative paupers.

The Blair family country residence: South Pavilion, Wooton Underwood, Buckinghamshire

The purchase of Sir John Gielgud’s Grade I listed former home, the South Pavilion at Wooton Underwood, Buckinghamshire for circa £4 million in 2008 is most definitely the most significant of the couple’s status symbols. Having seen her at several auction houses, it does seem that furnishing this and a large townhouse in Connaught Square, W2 is what now fills much of Mrs Blair’s time whilst her husband jets around the world making money and trying to create a more peaceful world.

Cherie Blair

It is also said that Mrs Blair is a “lonely eBay addict” who likes to spend time at the Champneys heath spa whilst worrying about what her husband is up to on his travels. Commentators, however, generally neglect to mention that Mrs Blair still works as a QC and also runs her own faith foundation. It is still de rigueur to mock Mrs Blair for her past mistakes but one could equally suggest that the product placing here there and everywhere by Samantha Cameron deserves just the same kind of criticism – which I note, simply does not occur.

Tony Blair

Whatever many think of Blair and his legacy, his post-office success has certainly been remarkable. It’ll be interesting to compare this to David Cameron’s post-office progress when that day arrives.

For more information on Tony Blair go to:

For more information on Cherie Blair go to:


Maggie said...

I admire Mrs Blair. She puts up with too much abuse. Your piece is fair in pointing out that Sam Cam is also hawking her husband's role to suit her position at Smythson and of course that OKA furniture brand. The gravy train plainly isn't limited to New Labour or the Tories.

Scary Biscuits said...

The money that Blair takes are a form of a corruption, the delayed bribe.

It is well known, for example, that if you are kind to the Saudis when you are in office, they will be kind to you when you retire. These bribes are usually disguised as directorships of shell companies. John Major and George Bush are both in receipt of such monies as, no doubt, is Tony Blair. As long as he does his best to keep this corrupt system in place and assuming the Saudi's haven't been overthrown by then, David Cameron will probably receive the bribes too. Of course, it's not really the Saudis' money; it is ours and we pay when we fill up our car. For the Saudi's this is just brilliant. They buy off our leaders with our own money! And our corrupt Parliament, mostly stuffed with people only too keen to get the bribes themselves, is incapable of doing anything about it.

Anonymous said...

Thieves and liars the pair of them.

Hope they rot in hell.

Anonymous said...

I hope all the deaths from the phoney war were worth it.

John Wilkes said...

Norman Stone quotes AJP Taylor who said that no French President had left office poorer apart from De Gaulle and no British Premier had left office richer apart from Lloyd George - adding until Tony Blair (of course).

Matthew Steeples said...

John Wilkes - Both Thatcher and Major also made a small fortune post-office: admittedly, not as much as Blair though.

Scar Biscuits - Post-office, all leaders are useful to companies and other countries. I can buy your theory but only to an extent.

Major Bonkers said...

Actually, I'd be worried about some of Mr Blair's new best friends - the sort of people that I'd cross the road to avoid. I think it was Euripides who said that you can judge a man by the company that he keeps: how can we forget the ghastly hilarity of Saif Gaddafi wondering why the British were bombing him when he considered Blair a 'good friend'; Channel 4's 'Dispatches' programme accused him of using his role as Middle East Peace Envoy to secure dubious consultancies from Kuwait and the UAE; and now he, milord Mandelson and Alaisdair Campbell are up to no good in Kazakhstan. I'm sure that Blair has some friends who aren't despots, it's just that we never see him with them.

In fact, come to think of it, we hardly see him in this country at all. Do you think he might be a non-dom?