ROLLING IN money, completely cut off from the vast majority of people, and stark staring bonkers. That’s the picture of the Blairs and their circle that emerges from the scandal surrounding Cherie Blair’s property dealings. Millions of working class people will be outraged that the Blairs casually buy up flats for over half a million pounds for their son when he goes off to college.
Many working class families hope their children may get the chance to go to college or university. Tony Blair’s plan to impose even higher tuition fees means they are worrying themselves sick about whether their children will ever be able to afford to go. These worries over fees, or what to live off while studying, won’t be an issue for the Blairs’ pampered offspring.
Mummy and Daddy will simply fix up a plush flat rent free, and buy another one to rent out for over £1,000 a month profit. That cash will certainly help out with Euan’s spending money at college. The two flats scandal is part of the whole filthy rich world the Blairs live in. Cherie pockets over £200 an hour as a top lawyer and part time judge.
Her near £250,000 each year, with Tony’s £109,768 on top, means they pocket more each month than firefighters get for 16 months of risking their lives. Cherie and Tony have so much money that they can casually sign blank cheques for the ‘lifestyle guru’ Carole Caplin, who is at the centre of the two flats scandal.
Caplin is said to get up to £5,000 a month, sometimes from Cherie and sometimes from Tony and Cherie’s joint account. Despite their wealth the Blairs, just like the rich everywhere, are also mean with their money.
Cherie’s conman Peter Foster haggled on her behalf to get a £69,000 discount on the two flats in Bristol. Cherie is so obsessed with money that she has insisted on Tony bringing back cheap northern butchers’ meat in his pockets when he travels alone to his Sedgefield constituency.
Just before the Blairs first moved into Downing Street in 1997 Alison Butterfield wrote to Socialist Worker about her first-hand experience of the soon to be first family: ‘It was like something out of Upstairs, Downstairs,’ wrote Alison after she had been interviewed for and offered a job as the Blairs’ nanny.
‘I was asked to attend an interview at their house in Trimdon, County Durham, where he has his constituency. Trimdon is an ex mining town. It is a very depressed area with high unemployment. Yet the Blairs’ four-bedroomed house was the biggest in the whole village. Blair had a private secretary, a housekeeper and a cook.
I was interviewed by Cherie in the kitchen. I didn’t even get introduced to the children. Cherie laid down the rules. I was supposed to look after the kids, who were all pre-school, all day. I had to be prepared to get up in the middle of the night. I had to do washing, shopping and meals. At the time I was in the Labour Party.
Tony Blair phoned me in the evening and offered me the job. Then he told me I would get £65 a week. I just laughed. It was well below the going rate and the minimum wage. And he’s supposed to be the alternative to the Tories?’
After the latest revelations about the Blairs, millions of working people who voted Labour will be asking themselves the same question. The New Labour clique live in a different world to the rest of us and have no right to tell us how to live our lives.
NEW, MODERN. The words drop from Tony Blair’s lips in almost every sentence. Yet the revelations over the last week show that these people live in a world of weird mysticism and medieval, half-baked nonsense. Cherie pays thousands each month for the services of Carole Caplin as a lifestyle guru.
Apparently, Caplin gives Cherie special treatments to ‘scrub the toxins’ out. One of Caplin’s acquaintances says, ‘This was a big thing for Carole. ‘She believed that many people were toxic and that this was at the root of evil. She’d always say, ‘Toxic people are going to be wiped out’.’ Caplin also apparently tells both Cherie and Tony what to wear and eat based on superstitious nonsense straight from the Dark Ages.
Caplin’s advice is based on her mother, Sylvia, a crank who claims to be clairvoyant and who has babysat at 10 Downing Street for the Blairs. ‘Sylvia is all part of the package and close to the Blairs,’ says one of Caplin’s associates. ‘She has recently started ‘channelling’, which involves communicating with the spirit world on behalf of clients.’
Another of Caplin’s contacts is Jack Temple. Cherie Blair and her son Euan have visited Temple’s healing centre, says one of Caplin’s associates. ‘Jack says he reads your genetic DNA by consulting rocks in his room and swinging a pendulum around your body. We had to go out into his garden and stand in this circle he had mown and drink a glass of water each,’ says the associate.
‘This was apparently to pick up on the positive energy levels which had got into the water from the ground.’ Temple also ‘dowses for poisons and blockages’ with a crystal pendant. Cherie Blair is said to visit Chloe Asprey, a self-styled ‘witch’ who ‘is very big on analysing the movements of the moon. Some days it is very bad to do business if the moon is in the wrong place.’
A year ago the Times reported on the Blairs’ holiday in Mexico. They visited a steam bath enclosed in a brick pyramid, and stripped down to their swimming costumes. Inside a therapist told the Blairs that the pyramid was a ‘womb’ in which they would be reborn.
The Blairs, we were told, saw shapes of animals in the steam and experienced ‘inner feelings and visions’. They smeared each other with melon, papaya and mud before letting out a ‘purifying’ scream… What people do for pleasure is their own business. But for these people to lecture us about the need to modernise takes the biscuit.
Some commentators have tried to say the mystical and plain barmy goings-on that pass as normal in the Blair household are only found among ‘new rich’ liberals from areas like Islington or Hampstead in London. Such irrationality is a very well established feature of the whole ruling class.
The right wing US president Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, used to run the White House, including key international meetings and presidential trips, on the basis of advice from an astrologer.
And Britain’s very own ‘old money’ and thoroughly right wing bigot Prince Philip has subscribed to Flying Saucer Review ever since that modernist publication was launched in the 1950s.
CHERIE BLAIR is a top lawyer who already sits as a part time judge and has ambitions to become a senior judge. Last week Cherie, for £200 an hour, sat as a judge and jailed Bhekie Ndhlovu for 21 months for trying to bring cannabis (which most people think should be legalised) into Britain.
Blair, who as a judge uses her maiden name Booth, sent the defendant to jail for what she called ‘a very serious offence’. Presumably she doesn’t feel the offences committed by fraudster Peter Foster, who helped her buy the Bristol flats, were so serious. He has been sentenced to jail terms on three continents, and for far longer than the victim of Cherie’s harsh justice last week.
Foster was jailed for four months in the US in 1989 and a further two years in Britain in 1995, for fraud. He was jailed again in 1996 for 38 months for fraud and threatening witnesses in his native Australia.
In 2000 he was sentenced to 33 months after he came back to Britain and was deported. Unlike the asylum seekers fleeing war, torture and poverty who Blair’s government attacks, this convicted criminal had no problem getting back into Britain. He slipped straight into the Blairs’ inner circle. None of Foster’s record is apparently ‘serious’ in Judge Cherie’s books. Instead, she says, Foster is ‘a star’.
IN THE Blairs’ very modern world money and business go hand in hand. Andrew Axelsen is the solicitor who arranged the finance on the Blairs’ two flats deal. He is awaiting trial on charges connected with one of prime minister Tony’s flagship projects.
Martin Williams, another solicitor suggested by fraudster Peter Foster to do the conveyancing on the Blair flats, is also awaiting trial on the same charges. Axelsen and Williams are linked to a fraud investigation into allegations about the corrupt awarding of contracts for the Jubilee Line extension on London Underground.
Every working class person will feel the pressure
Two inspiring strikes show the way forward