I can’t believe the extent of the corruption being uncovered in Israel’s government.
My predecessor as Prime Minister drifted home from vacation yesterday – without any envelopes stuffed with cash, as far as we know -- and made a mopey statement about yet another investigation into bribery and fraud and breach of trust on his part. He’s alleged to have been in cahoots with a bunch of shady property developers, lawyers and municipal officials, so that a big, tacky building could be put up in southern Jerusalem to provide luxury dwellings for property developers and lawyers. Oh, and the former State Prosecutor, too – apparently she has an apartment there. I don’t conclude anything from that fact. I'm not an investigator. I just run the country.
It looks as if Champagne Ehud is broken by his long ordeal. Finally. He’s been brazening it out, but there are limits to the shamelessness even of an Israeli politico. If only he’d done what I did – go to the U.S., spin out some waffle about the Middle East strategic outlook, throw in a few phrases of steely determination that the Holocaust shan’t happen again (as if anyone would expect the former Israeli Prime Minister to say, ‘Well, why not? It's been a while. Let’s have another Holocaust.’), and charge them fifty grand to listen to it while they eat their shrimp. Their chicken, I mean.
Who needs corruption, when you have a public speakers’ circuit for former politicians?
By the same token, why does Tony Blair insist on keeping his job as Mideast envoy of the Quartet? It’ll take more than a skeletal smile and a familiar glottal “t” in the middle of the word “wha’ever” to extract a Nobel Peace Prize out of this place, I can tell you. What does he need such grief for? He’s one of the best paid speakers in the world (200,000 pounds for a half-hour speech, and 15 million pounds in two years since leaving Number 10.) Forget the Mideast, Tony. Creep off to the U.S. and stay there. After all, that’s the only place in the world where they think the “Prime Minister of England” is a relative of the Queen. It’s probably why they’re paying you the big money. It certainly can’t be because you were so stupid you allowed George W. Bush to fool you into going to war.
Once you’re at the top in politics, you never have to pay for dinner again. But it’s a mistake to think you don’t have to pay for your house. You just don’t have to WORK to pay for your house. A few dates in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Florida and I was well on the way to the cost of my villa in Caesarea. That’s what poor old Champage Ehud forgot.
That reminds me, I must send over a few Cubans to him. He's a big afficionado, but he might be running low. He’ll need them, given how much smoke he’s going to have to blow to cover all this up.
The real speaker’s fees are only for the top guys. The Prime Ministers whose reputations were soiled by Iraq, the Presidents who soiled their intern’s dress, the former US Secretaries of State who were so stupid even George W. Bush could fool them into going to war in Iraq, the …uh, the movie stars (Nicole Kidman got $435,000 to speak to a global business conference) who can teach us how to cry without having our nose-jobs run and still look fabulous.
Maybe I could find Kidman’s speech on Youtube. I could use some of it for next year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day speech – this week at the memorials I feel I was a bit “same same,” having used up my best stuff at Auschwitz a couple of months ago. Nicole was very good in “Moulin Rouge!” Sometimes I dress as a woman and sing “One Day I’ll Fly Away” to my wife Sara, but she doesn’t seem to get the message. The messages, I mean.
Yes, speaking fees are where it’s at. Small fry have to promote themselves by writing blogs and op-eds, and even authoring their own books, as if ghost writers didn't exist. Like that writer Matt Beynon Rees. I heard that sometimes he even speaks to people for nothing, just because they want to hear him and he wants to talk about his books.
Now that’s really corrupt.