How Former Politicians Hit Paydirt With Public Speaking. Theresa May is not known in Westminster for her oratory. Yet the former PM earned £136,000 last month for a speech in Seoul on global responses to the pandemic.
It takes her total for after-dinner speeches this year to more than £1 million. Her lecture-circuit earning power appears to surpass that of that, err, great “orator” Boris Johnson. We shouldn’t blame politicians for cashing in on their celebrity while people still remember them.
Very few of us would turn down such huge sums. What is surprising is that people are prepared to pay them for doing it. But deep-pocketed organisations fall for the political celebrity bait easily. Barack Obama, George Osborne and David Cameron can all now command six-figure sums. The brand value and cachet of the speaker is paramount.
And the bragging rights about the big name they managed to bag to address them. It’s not about the content or the value of the speech delivered. It’s all about the brouhaha around its delivery. And so the game goes on. Why shouldn’t the beneficiaries roll in the hay while their sun, that’s supposed to have set on them, shines on?
Those who organise these conferences and pay these fees don’t really expect to hear priceless gems of wisdom from the speakers. More likely a ‘big name’ helps to draw in the crowds and raise the profile. We shouldn’t really criticise retired politicians for cashing in like this. But we should object to current politicians taking on multiple extra ‘jobs’ as advisers, consultants etc while they’re supposed to be doing a full-time job for their constituents.
As mentioned here before, I was never a huge fan of Theresa May as PM, or as Home Secretary. However, everything is relative. If asked, who would you rather be in charge of managing the current pandemic, I’m sure most people would gladly choose May over Johnson…So, all things considered, I don’t have a problem with this. She got the job, did the time and is entitled to capitalise on the experience.
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