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BRITAIN: TONY BLAIR JOINS WALL STREET BANK AS MILLION-A-YEAR PART-TIME ADVISER

BRITAIN: TONY BLAIR JOINS WALL STREET BANK AS MILLION-A-YEAR PART-TIME ADVISER

Alex Miller

Tony Blair, who resigned as British prime minister last May, has signed a lucrative deal with leading Wall Street bank JP Morgan.

According to the January 10 BBC News, although precise details of the former Labour Party leader’s salary are unknown, it is estimated that JP Morgan will pay him US$1 million (over Aus$1.1 million) per year for his services as a part-time adviser.

According to the BBC “JP Morgan, one of Wall Street's leading banks, is part of JP Morgan Chase & Co, a global financial services firm with assets of US$1.5 trillion and operations in more than 50 countries”.

Blair has been raking in the cash since resigning as PM. The January 11 London Guardian reported that Blair has been earning as much as £500,000 (Aus $1.1 million) for speaking engagements, and he also has a contract worth £5.8 million (Aus $12.8 million) with Random House publishing firm for his memoirs.

A statement issued by the bank said, “Tony Blair will bring our leaders and clients a unique and invaluable global perspective that is especially critical in turbulent times like these”. JP Morgan is one of the banks affected by the crisis in the US “subprime” mortgage market that has been driving the global “credit crunch”. In the JP Morgan statement, Blair said: “I look forward to advising them on how they approach the huge political and economic changes that globalization brings”.

According to the Guardian “Senior figures in the bank were already known to Blair. George Shultz, Ronald Reagan's secretary of state, is chairman of the bank's international advisory council, and held a party in Blair's honour at his California home when the then prime minister travelled to the US on government business”.

In addition to the JP Morgan job, Blair is also a runner for the post of president of the European Council – effectively “president of Europe” – a post created by the EU reform treaty, recently signed by current PM Gordon Brown, in breach of a commitment made in Labour’s 2005 general election manifesto. According to the BBC, Blair was publicly backed for the EU post by right-wing French President Nicolas Sarkozy in October last year.

In the January 11 Morning Star, Respect MP George Galloway attacked Blair’s appointment at JP Morgan. Galloway stated: “It’s disgusting, disreputable and Blair on the gravy train, but it was entirely expected”.

3 Com:

Peter | January 16, 2008

All these "social democrats" and their rich mates and top-end corporate jobs. In Australia, former Labor NSW Premier Bob Carr went to the Macquarie Bank and now we see former NSW Labor party general secretary Mark Arbib reaching for a fat slice of the corporate executive pie even while he waits to take up his recently won seat in the Senate!

"THE senator-elect Mark Arbib is known for being able to talk himself out of most scrapes. Now it seems he has talked his way into a high-flying job with the top end of town for five months before he takes his place in Parliament.

"Mr Arbib, who left the powerful and influential job of general secretary of the NSW Labor Party last year, is to swap the job of head of the traditional party of the working class for working for a man worth more than $64 million.

"Mr Arbib started work yesterday in a six-figure salaried job with Bell Potter Securities, the firm of the stockbroker Colin Bell, "to assist the company with several strategic projects". It is understood that he had met Mr Bell through Labor contacts."

Arbib's nice little earner before joining the Senate - Sydney Morning Herald

Brad | January 16, 2008

The habit has always been there. Remember the government appointed board of this and that where your Labor Party type could get a nice sinecure.

Now there's no transitional stop over -- just go straight where the big money is.

Peter | January 16, 2008

They have certainly become more shameless but I'd say the Labor politician's direct links to the corporate world may have deepened.

As Tim Anderson wrote:

"Labor was pilloried in the 1960s (by the corporate media) for being run by a group of “faceless men” in the union movement. The present reality is that corporate faceless men dominate both major parties."

Does this begin to challenge Labor's historic role as the capitalist party that the capitalists could count on to act more effectively in their general interest in times of crisis?

See, for example the argument in Labor and the Fight for Socialism (DSP 1988):

"The ALP showed that it was capable of serving the interests of the Australian capitalist class as a whole, particularly during times of severe crisis when dissension within the ruling class tended to paralyse the other bourgeois parties. For that reason, it was chosen to govern through most of both world wars, and to inflict the savage wage cuts demanded by the ruling class in the early stages of the 1930s depression."

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