Former prime minister says it is only in Britain he is attacked and accuses press of having a 'score' to settle with him.
Tony Blair has issued a plaintive self-defence, insisting it is not true that no one likes him and instead describing a "score" the British press has to settle with him.
Blair is expected to go before the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war next year, where his critics hope he will face charges of manipulating intelligence, and an interview at the weekend suggests the former prime minister is bracing himself for further hostile coverage.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Blair said: "It's not true that nobody likes me. Reading the papers in Britain, you'd end up thinking I'd lost three elections rather than won them. There is a completely different atmosphere around me outside the country. People accept the work that you are doing, as it is. They don't see anything wrong with being successful financially and also doing good work.
"If I did what these people who criticise me here wanted, I'd end up just sitting in a corner, but that is never going to be me."
Echoing a speech he made towards the end of his time in office, where he lashed out at what he called "the feral beasts of the media", Blair said the British press have an agenda with him. He said: "They don't approach me in an objective way. Their first question is how to belittle what I'm doing, knock it down, write something bad about it. It's not right. It's not journalism. They don't get me and they've got a score to settle with me. But they are not going to settle it."
Since leaving office in 2007, Blair has been criticised for netting deals advising banks, companies and Arab governments as well as large sums for speeches. But he suggested he could do even more lucrative work if he wanted: "When leaders step down, they all do a certain amount of paid speaking and that is fair enough. If all I wanted to do was make speeches, let me tell you, I could make five times the number," he said. "I got out of politics early enough to have a second act in life. Why shouldn't a politician be able to do that? Others do. Nobody says Bill Gates is bad for moving from business to philanthropy. Why shouldn't a politician do a business model when they change their life?"
As the representative to the Middle East quartet – the US, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia – Blair works in Jerusalem for about 10 days every month helping the Palestinians prepare for statehood.
Describing the work he also does on frequent visits to Rwanda, he said: "What I am able to do in Rwanda now is more important than what I was able to do for Rwanda as prime minister. Ditto in Palestine."
CRY MOAR PLZ
I'm curious as to what non- Brits think- Do you think he's as much of a dickhead as we do here?