Friday, June 03, 2005

Ah, Bisto!

It's well-established that when a Prime Minister walks out of Downing Street for the last time he or she steps straight on to the Gravy Train, in the form of book deals and lecture tours. But not for the first time, poor Cherie Blair is being criticised for boarding the Snouts-In-The-Trough Express ahead of schedule.
She's off to Washington to give a lucrative lecture on her Downing Street life next week. Interestingly, in the land of the fast buck a President's wife would have to give the dosh to charity but our rules only cover Ministers, not their wives. We don't know whether, as this is a private trip, she will be paying the costs of her Special Branch bodyguards or whether that's done by us taxpayers.
But Tony's retirement as Prime Minister is looming, they've got the mortgage to pay on that £3 million house in Connaught Square, and a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do.

We all know how difficult it is to live on a pension, even when Gordon increases the state pension by 25p a week. But at least the Blairs won't be dependent on that.
Even so, Tony's Prime Ministerial pension is only half his annual salary and will give them a modest £62,400 a year. (He didn't have to contribute to this. We pay for it. Generous to a fault, we British taxpayers).
On leaving Downing Street he'll also get a redundancy payment of £31,000. Not that anyone acually made him redundant. The electorate flunked that a few weeks ago.

If he also steps down as an MP (which he surely will, within 45 minutes, to become Lord Blair of Basra) he'll be given a 'resettlement grant' of up to a year's salary (£59,000).
If he decided to remain an MP, once he reaches 60 he'll get his MP's superannuation which would give him a pension of £38,900 a year.
That wouldn't keep Cherie in hairdressers or alternative therapies for very long but remember that's on top of his Prime Minister's pension of £62,400. But that's still only just over £101,000 so you can see why the memoirs and the overseas lecture tours will be necessary, even if Cherie's still bringing in a few bob as one of the country's highest paid barristers.

As you'd expect, we'll be paying for the Blairs to have 24 hour Special Branch protection until the day they die, so they should be safe from any hoodies who hang out in Connaught Square. And in view of the number of people he's upset in the last eight years they'll probably also let him keep his armour-plated car.
Not that Labour backbenchers usually turn violent but you can't be too careful.


At 3:12 PM, Anonymous The Merkin said...

Of course, anothre delicious irony about Tsar Tony is that at the same time as his awful wife is lining the family pockets over the pond, he's forbidden any private pension pots to be over £1.25 million (or thereabouts). Fine, you might think, as only a plutocrat fat cat type would be able to amass that much anyway. The stinking hypocrisy is that he (a barrister, married to a barrister, with a cabinet full of barristers, who has ennobled dozens of barrister friends) has exempted judges from this rule as it might "discourage barristers from becoming judges". Sickening. Corrupt. Grrrr.

PS To get in index-linked pension of £101,000, you would need a pension pot (in the private sector) of well over his new £1.25 million limit. Hypocritical as well.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

You're right, the hypocrisy is breathtaking.
According to my research source, to get a pension income of that size in the private sector, you'd need a pension pot of £2 million.


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