Taking an instant dislike to Tony Blair is a good rule of life. It saves time. A generation of British voters would agree and now it seems plenty of international diplomats and UN representatives think it’s a good idea too.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Mr Blair’s leadership of the so-called Middle East Peace Quartet is coming to an enforced and early end – not just because of the obvious reason that there is no peace to keep in the Middle East.
Rather, Mr Blair is seen as a divisive, hopeless figure who has “no credibility” with any of the negotiating parties trying to resolve the now seemingly-permanent impasse between Israel and its Palestinian neighbour as well as wider problems in Syria, Iraq and Iran.
A former US government official, who was closely involved with trying to revive talks last year, has told The Telegraph of Mr Blair’s unsuitability for a job he announced within days of leaving Downing Street in 2007.
“Frankly all sides just rolled their eyes at the mention of his name,” the official said, as it was reported that Mr Blair was being “eased out” as head of the Quartet, a loose group that comprises negotiators from the UN, EU, US and Russia.
Rumours that Mr Blair was being asked to resign have been current in diplomatic circles for some time. They were confirmed on Sunday night by The Financial Times. Mr Blair’s office has declined to comment.
Officially the Obama administration has been publicly supportive of Mr Blair, with officials describing him Sunday as a “valued partner in trying to bring peace to the Middle East” but in private the same former officials were scathing.
“He showed up, but was not effective,” one official was quoted in the Telegraph. “Honestly, when the Kerry negotiations were going on, it was like he’d wait until Kerry was going to be in the region and show up at the same time and then do press releases. It was sort of unseemly.”
“In the end the Israelis didn’t mind him, because he was heavily tilted towards them, but the Palestinians couldn’t stand him and most of the rest of the peace-making community and other groups included, just rolled their eyes.
“Of course people met with him – he’s the former British prime minister and head of the Quartet – but beyond the media, there’s was really nothing much doing.”
It’s not the first time that Mr Blair’s desire to be in the public spotlight has triumphed over his ability to really do anything other than promote his own interests.
Plenty of people still believe Mr Blair should be put on trial for his role in taking the UK to war in Iraq. Others would rather he took responsibility for allowing this country to be swamped with millions of new arrivals from the EU.
Ultimately Anthony Charles Wynton Blair is as much the hopeless herbert of global diplomacy as he was UK prime minister.
It’s just that now the rest of the world understands this fact.