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.

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