Earlier this year, Tony Blair was allegedly in secret talks with men with deep pockets to help him fund the creation of a new breakaway party. The former Prime Minister took a trip to Hull in April to visit Dr Assem Allam who is known to have previously funded Labour MPs looking to drift away from Jeremy Corbin’s camp to set up a shiny new “centrist” party with Blair. At the time, Dr Assem and other donors seemed to be buying into whatever it was Tony Blair was selling because a lot of them pledged their wallets and chequebooks to his cause.
Because he believed his sales pitch to develop a new centre-Left think-tank to be a done deal, Mr Blair confidently put a spin on the true nature of his meeting by telling the press the meeting with Dr Assem had nothing to do with the creation of a new party and was strictly about developing The Tony Blair Institute For Global Change. The press knew better and took his comments with the pinch of salt it deserved.
Fast forward to today and it seems Tony Blair’s confidence in the financial commitments he had gathered earlier this year has all but totally eroded. Leaving his vision of a new centrist political party lying in ruins as many of his donors have completely dissociated themselves with Blair’s cause.
But what made Mr Blair think forming a new party was a good idea in the first instance considering a lot of British citizens are no longer part of his fan base? It’s no secret that after the Brexit vote, more and more MPs were dissatisfied with the treatment they were receiving from their respective parties as an increasing amount of them publicly voiced their complaints about feeling alienated by activities of their parties and the negligence of pro-Remain policies. This turmoil gave Mr Blair the idea that the time had come for a new alternative party to rise and shake things up. The victory of Emmanuel Macron in France further bolstered Mr Blair’s faith in his new chosen path as it strengthened his conviction that if a new and unknown party could make it to the top in France, the same formula could surely work in Britain as well.
Sadly for Mr Blair, Jeremy Corbin’s renewed support especially since the Labour Party’s victory in Parliament and a renewed debate concerning the Iraq war has left Mr Blair high and dry with many of his financial supporters deserting him in droves.
Running out of options on how to raise money for his party, Tony Blair is reported to have approached John Mills to fund his pro-remain party. Which is strange considering the popularity of Mr John Mills for having been a strong campaigner for Brexit.
With no money, maybe this is the end of Tony Blair’s lofty dreams. On the other hand, this might just be the beginning of this particular tale has events are still unfolding and Mr Blair might still find that little extra pocket change he needs to accomplish his ambitions.