Washington, USA: Tony Blair, having been garlanded: in January 2009 with the "Presidential Medal of Freedom" by George W Bush, in recognition of the "exemplary achievement" that included his support for the "War on Terror", has now receieved another award.
In June 2010 it emerged that Blair is the 2010 winner of the Liberty Medal, from the National Constitution Centre, with the $100,000 prize given to those whose "actions represent the founding principles of the United States".
Bill Clinton presented the award as the centre's chairman, in this merry-go-round of grand-sounding international prizes and committees, with former presidents and prime ministers alternately judges and recipients.
Now Tony Blair's name is being mooted as the Republican runner against President Obama. Throughout his career as British Prime Minister, Blair proved a ruthless master at selling ideas that were of short-term benefit and long-term liability. Through over-spending and disastrous private finance initiatives, his government accrued monstrous debts, which it falls to today's unhappy taxpayers to pay.
Tony Blair's British Government expanded University places, at the same time as killing off the principle of free tertiary education, ensuring that generations of students will be hit with increasingly punitive fees. Tony Blair resembled no one so much as the man who encourages everyone to order more at a restaurant table, on the understanding that it's all on him, only to dash from the room before the bill arrives.
Now, Tony Blair is swaddling himself in the kind of continents, conflicts and initiatives into which one can disappear comfortably for years. He's plugging the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, the Tony Blair Sports Foundation, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, the Tony Blair Foundation Garment with Built-In Spinal Support, and the Tony Blair Total Coverage Foundation with SPF15. The last two I made up, but the Blair branding is becoming unstoppable. Perhaps Britain should warn the rest of the world by putting up some posters in airports: "Watch out for this man - dangerously plausible at first meeting."
Tony Blair for the US President!