Socialist Worker

Getting the royal treatment

Issue No. 1709

Blairs swan off to Tuscany

Getting the royal treatment

"NOT EVEN the Tsar of all the Russias would have got treatment like this." That was the stunned reaction of an Italian journalist on Tony Blair's lavish holiday arrangements.

The Blairs are staying at a 50-room Italian villa set in a 1,000-acre vineyard belonging to an Italian prince. Over 100 Italian police are on hand to ensure the Blairs enjoy their break in privacy. The family swept in on an 11- car motorcade with helicopters hovering overhead. After chilling out in Italy for a while the Blairs will then head off to a chateau in France.

If the Blairs' holiday accommodation is better than most of us ever get, so too was the way they got there. They are flitting about in a Royal Air Force jet belonging to the Queen's Flight at a cost of �40,000.

ONE OF Gordon Brown's closest advisers is �15 million richer this week.

Gavyn Davies is an economist and partner in the exclusive Goldman Sachs investment bank. He is also married to Sue Nye, Gordon Brown's key adviser, and advises the chancellor himself.

He was given a free bagful of Goldman Sachs shares when the firm was floated on the stock exchange last year. Last week he sold off just a few of them for �15 million. If he ever runs short he has another �85 million worth of free shares to cash in.

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Sat 12 Aug 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1709
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