"You got the Belgians running Europe?"

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s memoir is on sale today, alongside a lengthy profile/preview of the book in the Washington Post. Based on the tidbits from the profile, I may just have to snag A Journey: My Political Life (What an original and totally interesting title!). The Post piece mostly centers on the backstabbingly close relationship Blair had with his successor Gordon Brown. There’s this little tidbit regarding how Blair felt about Presidents Clinton and Bush, both of whom with which he shared close relationships.

Blair first visited with George W. Bush at Camp David in February 2001. He and Clinton had agreed on so much, while he and Bush agreed on so little.

On his last visit, he and Clinton had sat in the sunshine debating how the center-left could stay in power, “exactly the kind of stimulating, intellectual, conceptual conversation that Bill loved, and as ever I would learn constantly, adding my own analysis and always surprised and encouraged by how our thinking converged.

“This was not George at all. . . . George had immense simplicity in how he saw the world. Right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership.” The two men came to like each other, so comfortable in each other’s presence that, years later at a G-8 summit, Bush turned to Blair during a statement by one of the leaders in attendance and said, “Who is that guy?”

“He is the prime minister of Belgium,” Blair replied.

When Bush grumbled that Belgium is not part of the G-8, Blair explained that the man was the president of Europe. ” ‘You got the Belgians running Europe?’ He shook his head, now aghast at our stupidity,” Blair writes.

Oh, did I mention there’s a poop joke:

One wonders if a pro might have steered Blair away from TMI moments, such as his musings about stomach upsets on the road: “I am very typically British,” Blair writes. “I like to have time and comfort in the loo.”


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