Sunday, July 4, 2010

Blair Faced Cheek!

Is see Labour just keep on costing us...

It's being reported that our last (elected) PM's bodyguards alone are costing the tax payer £250,000 a year, in expenses.

Tony Blair really does have some bare faced, (orangey) cheek. Don't get me wrong, I fully accept the need to protect ex-PMs. And I understand that a relatively young and still active one, like Blair, is going to cost a substantial amount of dosh to protect. But it seems some of the cost is down to the numerous holidays the Blair's take. I can only hope it was the Labour Party that met the cost of Tony's visit during the General Election. But the point is that in this new age of austerity, it really isn't on to be spending thousands of pounds protecting a very well paid individual while he, and his also very well paid wife, sun themselves on exclusive beaches.

My suggestion would be to offer a generous maximum amount of paid protection to ex-PMs and then expect them to pay any additional costs incurred on top of that by their swanning around the world, unless their activities were directly in the interests of Britain. The days of issuing blank cheques at the public's expense are over and that should extend to the likes of the Blairs as much as everyone else.

Luckily, Gordon is all but unemployable following his disastrous premiership. So he won't be jetting hither and dither at anyones expense.

However, as the people of Britain begin to pay the price for his profligacy with higher taxes and lower public spending, I suspect the cost of protecting him will be a lot less if he's abroad than if he's at home. In fact, perhaps he's already worked this out and has fled the country. That would explain the little that's been seen of him (doing what he's paid for) in Parliament recently.


  1. ... Even Sir John Major cost us £119k in expenses alone for security last year and tremendously inactive. Let his be the benchmark.

    This is not really a story. Everything he does positively raises the profile of this country. You couldn't spend that £250k better.

  2. @JP: To be fair, Major has to be protected from the wrath of Edwina Curry, so that may explain his seemingly high security expenses.

    I'd be interested to see a comparison of expenses between the ex-PMs, not least to see if we are comparing like with like above. According to the Mail (and therefore totally accurate and beyond doubt) the cost of Blair's protection squad was twice as much as Gordon Brown's in his last year as Prime Minister!! Mind you, the Daily Mail also claims these high security costs cause cancer and that Lady Diana's security wasn't anywhere near as expensive as Blair's. We all know where that ended up.

    Seriously though, You're right, it's not the biggest issue in the world and I'm not overly bothered about the cost of protecting ex-PMs, as I say, it's perfectly reasonable as long as the money is being spent wisely. I just think, at a time when we're cutting back on all forms of public spending we need to be realistic about what protection the tax payer should pay for and what the individual ex-PM should. Now, fair play to him, but I don't think any other PM* has so successful exploited his previous position to make truck loads of money after their premiership as Tony Blair has... and his wife (even before he left office). Ex-PM's expenses shouldn't be immune when the going gets tough (with higher taxes, public spending cuts etc.) just because the troughers got going.

    I'm not clear how Blair's holidays do anything positive for Britain. Hence my point that we should pay ex-PM's security expenses to a reasonable extent, but anything above that should only be at the public expense if it is DIRECTLY in the interests of the country. These people are, after all, getting handsome incomes and can afford it. Indeed, it is this earning activity that is pushing up the cost to the tax payer.

    * I imagine Thatcher must come close, mind.