Andy McSmith's Diary: Gordon Brown's earning power is good news for good causes

 

In just two months, Gordon Brown has earned for his charities almost 50 per cent more than David Cameron is paid in an entire year as Prime Minister, thanks to lecture fees. A single speech delivered in Dubai earned Mr Brown a fee almost equal to his annual salary as an MP. His payments for just four speeches delivered in various parts of the world so far this year come to more than £210,000 – not counting payments in kind, in the form of free travel or hotel rooms for example. David Cameron’s annual salary is £145,000.

Though the fees Mr Brown commands are no match for Tony Blair’s vast earnings, they would be enough to make him a multimillionaire – except that he decided from the moment he stepped down not to pocket any of his outside earnings, but to live off his MP’s salary alone.

A note on the MPs’ Register of Member’s Interests emphasises that all of it “is being held by the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown for the employment of staff to support my ongoing involvement in public life”. His office, which costs about £550,00 a year to run, supports a range of children’s charities.

Even so, his declared earnings are a striking illustration of how much more the big-name politicians can earn outside politics. Gordon Brown’s latest additions to the register, published yesterday, reveal that he was paid £62,622.17 for a single speech delivered to a government summit in Dubai in February.

The organisers also paid more than £26,000 in hotel and transport costs for the former Prime Minister and accompanying aides.

Earlier in the same month, he was paid £49,915 for a speech to an export conference in Houston, Texas. Late in January, a speech to the Callan Investments Institute, in San Francisco, earned him £49,455.10. He was also paid £48,898.25 for “presentations” to Trinity University in San Antonio. In each case his hosts also paid for flights and accommodation.

That is in just two months. Multiply by six, and the inference is that the former Prime Minister, right, is on course to generate around £1.2m for good works this year alone.

Major’s minor role

The other new biography of Margaret Thatcher – the one by her former adviser, Robin Harris, not the elegant tome by the former Daily Telegraph editor, Charles Moore – glows with admiration for her, but is less adoring of her successor.

“Nothing became John Major so well as the cheerful manner, indeed the patent relief, of his resignation,” Harris writes. “He was never up to the job – and by the end, somewhere inside himself he recognised the fact.” Cruel.

Tatler takes a punt  on a princess

While the nation waits in eager suspense to know whether the first-born child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is a girl or a boy, Tatler magazine has taken a punt on her being a Princess, with this striking cover, to their “Royal Baby Collector’s Edition” due out in June.

The child sitting with such an admirably straight back is Georgia-Mae Tanner, and the baby corgi’s name is Milly.

Pooter the council leader gains a reprieve

In the UK’s wealthiest borough, the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, there is a blogger known only as The Dame who is remarkably well informed and frank about the important and self-important people who run the council – particularly its long-serving leader, Sir Merrick Cockell, whom the Dame delights in calling “Pooter”.

Her latest blog entry begins in style: “One of Pooter’s expensive pretensions was the appointment of a Head of Office at somewhere in the region of £55k a year…”

Until recently, you could pick up some of the Dame’s musings by accessing Sir Merrick’s Wikipedia entry, which also featured an exhaustive list of his expenses, until one afternoon about two weeks ago, when every reference to his expenses and his nickname was removed by one of Wikipedia’s editors.

Sir Merrick is standing down from the council leadership in May. Someone must have thought it was time to stop being beastly to poor old Pooter.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Sport
Robin van Persie scores the third for Manchester United with a perfectly-guided header
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all