Tony Blair and his role

By David Runciman

Since he left office in 2007 Tony Blair has been hawking his wares around the world, from Nigeria to Kazakhstan. What has he been selling? Himself, of course, plus his reputation, and perhaps his party’s too, somewhere down the river. But he’s also been peddling an idea: deliverology. Tom Bower gives us the pitch. He reports Blair telling Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president, back in 2007: ‘I learned by bitter experience during ten years as prime minister the problems of getting the government machine to deliver what I wanted. I created a Delivery Unit, and that was a great success. It transformed everything. I want to bring that success to Africa.’ Or as he put it to President Buhari of Nigeria at a meeting last year: ‘I pioneered the skills to make government work effectively. The Delivery Unit is the leader’s weapon to make his government effective across the civil service and country.’ He offered to establish a delivery unit within Buhari’s regime, staffed by experts from Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative. At the same meeting, according to Bower, Blair asked the various aides present to leave the room so he could talk to the president alone. He told them he had a personal message to convey from David Cameron. In fact, he used the time to pursue some business on behalf of Tony Blair Associates, his commercial calling card. He wanted to sell the Nigerians Israeli drones and other military equipment for use in their fight against Islamic rebels.

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