Tony Blair a ‘narcissist with a messiah complex who abandoned Britain to hang out with rich people in America’

Robert Harris, the best-selling novelist of Fatherland, former political journalist and former friend of Blair hits out in extraordinary interview

The former British prime minister Tony Blair is a “narcissist” with a “messiah complex” who turned his back on Britain, according to his one-time friend Robert Harris.

The best-selling author of Fatherland and former political journalist first met Mr Blair in 1992, but said that it was “impossible to see the man he is now in the man that I knew”.

Harris has been one of Mr Blair’s fiercest critics ever since, he said, he “became a great friend of George Bush and [wanted] to keep bombing people and [became] so passionately interested in making money”.

In 2007 he published a book called The Ghost about a former British prime minister who faces being hauled in front of the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, which he previously described as being somewhere “between reality and fiction”.

And speaking in an interview with Total Politics, the author said the British public would never forgive Mr Blair for abandoning British democracy as “a relatively young man in political terms” in order to go and “hang out with a lot of rich people in America”.

 

“I find it tragic. It’s presumptuous of me to say so, but I can’t believe there isn’t an element of tragedy that he himself feels, that a relatively young man in political terms should cut himself off from British democracy in the way that he has.

“He could have had one of those nineteenth-century careers, and come back as foreign secretary or maybe even as party leader, but he turned his back on it and walked out of the place. I cannot understand someone who tasted that kind of role and fought for it, turning their back on it.”

Tony Blair with President Bush in 2002 Tony Blair with President Bush in 2002 He added: “Who knew that he would become a great friend of George Bush and would want to keep bombing people and would be so passionately interested in making money and live this strange life with the billionaire super-rich on yachts and private jets?

“I mean maybe someone more perceptive than I would have seen it, but I never saw that at the time, nor - knowing a lot of the people who know him very well - did they.

“It's a cliche to say that most politicians go mad if they are in office for more than about six or seven years and they become a member of a club and you become quite disconnected from reality, and I think there were in Tony things we perhaps didn't realise at the time - of narcissism, a messiah complex, that had merely accelerated this impulse in him.”

Harris said that Lord Mandelson, a close friend and godfather to one of his children, was a paragon of virtue by comparison.

“Peter is the soul really of plain living - frugality - compared to Tony Blair as far as I can see. He associates with the paupers of the earth compared to the people that Blair associates with,” he said.

A spokesperson for the office of Mr Blair was not immediately available for comment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Broker / Purchaser

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'