Adam Lovejoy reports from London: Have you heard the great news? Tone Blair, the former British PM, earns £2,600 a minute for his lectures these days. Yep, that’s how much widom he shares with his audiences. Eat you heart out, all you Harvard and Oxford lecturers. Tony knows things you don’t and never will.
But seriously, isn’t it a convenient way to pay off former politicians for the past sins by showering them with money for their pathetic efforts to hit the lecture circuit? And with their useless memoirs and autobiographies written by others it makes it even easier to turn them into millionaires, even if no one buys them. Because huge advances are always given by publishers who then manage to somehow recoup their losses.
Still, with lectures it’s easier to get away with abysmal content – or no content at all. Tell me, have you ever been to a lecture by a former politician or met anyone who’s been to such a lecture? I’ve never met such people in my life so it makes me think that all these hundred grand fees are basically backhanders from the big boys of business and banking, not to mention other groups that have benefited greatly during the reign of this government or that.
Because if you think about it, all politicians are grey, boring individuals who got into politics mostly because they couldn’t find a decent job outside it, so why would they become all entertaining and interesting once they step down? They have read from prepared texts all their lives, for God’s sake! Are you going to tell me that once they retire or are kicked out they become witty and knowledgeable?
When Tony Blair got pushed out of office by his own people, desperate to avert a meltdown of the party at the general election of 2010 because his popularity was close to zero at the time, Tony hit the lecture circuit with a vengeance. He was paid astronomical sums for his efforts, sometimes rising to $250,000 a time. (There’s not a single lecture in the world that is worth that.) And yet, no one has ever heard what it was that Tony told his audiences. Nope, not a hint of all that wisdom and supposedly hilarious jokes that he has produced. Just rumours about how Tony earns all that huge money because his lectures are sought after. And yet, when he finally appeared in public in his former parliamentary constituency, and gave us all a taste of his ‘magic’, it was no big deal. I would even say it was in the grand category at most, with that American accent of his and false suntan coming across as very annoying. I suppose that is why he never again went public with his oratory skills, fearing that we might see through the whole con.
Mind you, if you think I’m mistaken and Tony is great at entertaining the crowds why don’t you glance through his memoirs, A Journey, which he had supposedly written himself, or at least look through the parody of his ‘bestselling’ book on this website, which will give you a taste of how he thinks and what he might be saying at his lectures. And you will find that Tony is a vain, shallow man who has nothing of any interest to say apart from praising himself and making it look as if he knew what he was doing while in office. Some parts of his memoirs are so pathetic and primitive that it’s a wonder he was given a huge advance for it.
And this applies to practically every former politician. Former Iron Chancellor Gordon Brown, for example, gets around 80 grand for his efforts. Come on, are you going to tell me that this man has anything of any substance to say? Get real! Just like I would never believe that former US president Bill Clinton is fun to listen to and is worth all the money that he is paid for his lectures. One look at him and you know that he is lying or making things up. It’s that simple.
So I figure if we want to stop big business and bankers paying off politicians when they retire, we should ban them from lecturing for money for about 10 years after they step down. And that would really hit them hard, the weasels.