Tony Blair is the most highly paid speaker on the planet, and his wife is not doing too badly, either.

As Tony Blair soaked up the applause of an adoring Filipino audience at the end of his latest paid speaking engagement last month, a startling statistic must surely have popped into his head. In the space of just 30 minutes, Mr Blair had earned £183,000 – the same as his salary as prime minister.

This articl in the Telgraph has rendered me all but speachless!! The guy lies about WMD, leaves the country in a total mess, yet makes £15,894,936 since retiring to June 2009!!! To be honest I can’t see what anybody would want to listen to him for, or read his book and as for his money grabbing wfe …

The Article In Full

As Tony Blair soaked up the applause of an adoring Filipino audience at the end of his latest paid speaking engagement last month, a startling statistic must surely have popped into his head. In the space of just 30 minutes, Mr Blair had earned £183,000 – the same as his salary as prime minister.
Put another way, he earned £6,000 per minute for addressing a 2,000-strong audience in Manila, making him far and away the highest-paid public speaker on the planet.

And the lectures, where Mr Blair delivers such pearls of wisdom as “politics really matters, but a lot of what goes on is not great”, are only a small part of his vast earnings, which could very well net him a staggering £80 million by the time he reaches retirement age in 10 years’ time.

Welcome to Blair Incorporated, a money-making machine like no other in the history of former political leaders.

No other retired statesman, not even Mr Blair’s old buddy Bill Clinton, has made so much cash so quickly after leaving office.

Between them, Mr Blair and his wife Cherie have banked close to £18 million in the two years since they moved out of Downing Street, with no sign of any let-up in their earning power.

Such is the demand for Mr Blair’s services on the international speaking circuit that there is a two-year waiting list for bookings, and Max Markson, the colourful Australian PR man who has worked with the likes of Nelson Mandela and Mr Clinton, described him as “one of the biggest stars in the world”.

Mr Blair, 55, is certainly acting the part. He has assembled a global empire with its headquarters in a smart four-storey office in Grosvenor Square and outlying offices in America, Africa and the Middle East.

At the last count, Mr Blair employed 82 people to run his ventures; a religious foundation, charities raising money for sport, Africa and to halt climate change, and of course his permanent office at the American Colony hotel in Jerusalem, where he is an international envoy to the Palestinian territories.

And to shuttle between his activities, Mr Blair (who was so cruelly denied the presidential-style personal airliner he craved during his time in office) has taken to renting a Gulfstream V executive jet, which costs up to £80,000 for a typical three-day round trip.

Like any chief executive, he travels with a gaggle of aides, who often include the ever-loyal Ruth Turner, his former Downing Street “gatekeeper” who was arrested (but not charged) during the cash for honours investigation, and who heads up his US office based at Yale University.

Incredible as it may seem for a man who portrayed himself as the champion of the disenfranchised, £80,000 is small change to Mr Blair, thanks to the speaking tours, which rake in around £2.5 million per year, advisory roles with Zurich and JP Morgan Chase, which bring in another £2.5 million and his latest venture, advising other leaders on good governance, for which he charges around £1 million per contract.

Nor has Mrs Blair been letting the grass grow under her piggy bank.

Having earned a £1 million advance for her autobiography, Speaking For Myself, she has continued with her second career as a public speaker, banking around £25,000 per engagement, mostly through trips to America.

Her appearances this year will include a speech at the Institute of Travel and Tourism conference in Dubai in June. Mrs Blair’s experience of holiday hunting may have been limited in recent years by her uncanny ability to conjure numerous stays at the exotic homes of acquaintances such as Cliff Richard and Robin Gibb, but the conference organisers have assured paying delegates that: “Cherie has some knowledge of the travel industry as her mother was a travel agent for Lewis’s department store in Liverpool.”

As Cherie Booth QC, she has also carried on with her legal career, picking up one of her most high-profile cases to date after being retained by two local authority pension funds to prepare a joint action against Sir Fred Goodwin and Royal Bank of Scotland in the American courts.

Conservative estimates suggest the case will keep her earnings from legal work above £100,000 a year. Mrs Blair also sits as a part-time judge for 15 days a year for the standard daily fee of £575.

Her impressive workload has also included lucrative appearances on Channel 4: she was paid £10,000 for presenting a one-hour documentary on the future of Christianity last month, and received slightly more for chairing a series on street weapons last year. She also has an occasional column in The Times, which pays around £1,000 a time.

The Blairs need all the money they can get their hands on, with mortgages on four properties in London, Buckinghamshire, Bristol and Durham totalling almost £9 million and more than 80 staff between them, whose combined wages are likely to top £2.5 million per year.

Yet there are increasing signs that Mr Blair is prepared to give up some of his lucrative outside interests – temporarily at least – by becoming the first full-time president of the European Union as and when the role is created.

Mr Blair, who sees himself as uniquely placed to build a bridge between Europe and the Obama administration, held private talks with the European Commission president, José Manuel Barroso, in Brussels last week while the world was focusing on the G20 summit in London.

As well as sounding out Mr Barroso for support, Mr Blair has reportedly talked Gordon Brown around to backing him, and the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, is also understood to have told Mr Blair he would have his vote.

At the beginning of this year, when I last spoke to Blair’s biographer, Anthony Seldon, about rumours that Blair was interested in the presidency, Prof Seldon dismissed the suggestion out of hand, saying the former premier had no appetite for European bureaucracy.

Since then, however, he has revised his opinion.

“I now think he might well want to do it,” Dr Seldon told me from his study at Wellington College. “My sense is that he is finding it harder to operate as a freelance diplomat than he thought it would be. It’s harder to get influence without an official position, and with each passing month his contacts and his inside knowledge decline, his name declines – he is a declining asset. So it may make more sense to him to come inside an office that has a standing and operate from there.

“His earning power might go down in the time he was doing it, as he would have to give up some of his activities, but people have always made the mistake of thinking he is a man obsessed by money. He is not that kind of person, though he may have acquired the habits of the rich. On a personal level, I don’t think a drop in income would worry him.”

Cherie Blair may react with horror to the thought of her husband giving up some of his earnings for a job that will pay just £200,000 a year (the equivalent of 33 minutes’ work for Mr Blair at the moment).
But Mrs Blair would be able to console herself with the knowledge that after completing a two-and-a-half-year term as EU President (or even the maximum of five years), her husband would be a more bankable asset than ever on the worldwide lecture circuit.

Tony Blair’s earnings since leaving office in June 2007:
Speaking fees: £2.5 million per annum
Advance for memoirs: £4.6 million
Advisory role with JPMorgan Chase: £2 million pa
Advisory role with Zurich financial services: £500,000 pa
Contract to advise Kuwaiti leaders on good governance: £1 million
Prime Ministerial pension: £63,468
Allowance for private office: £84,000
Total to June 2009: £15,894,936

Mortgages: £384,000 pa
Staff wages: £2.4 million
Office rental: £550,000 pa
Gulfstream V jet rental: £500,000 pa
Total: £7,668,000

Cherie Blair’s earnings since June 2007:
Advance for autobiography: £1 million
Speaking fees: £200,000 pa
Legal work: £100,000 pa
Court fees for sitting as crown court recorder: £8,625 pa
Fee for Channel 4 programme on Christianity: £10,000
Fee for Channel 4 series on street weapons: £15,000
Articles in The Times: £2,000
Total to June 2009: £1,644,250

Mortgages: £20,400 pa
Staff wages: £140,000 pa
Council tax: £5,507 pa
Household expenditure: £60,000 pa
Total: £444,164

* Some figures are approximate

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