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Prime minister’s profits

Even though his wife picked up lavish gifts and highly paid speaking engagements around the world and even though Mr Blair will undoubtedly receive a large advance for his marmoreal memoirs and speaking fees when he exits stage left from Downing Street, it does seem odd that a Prime Ministerial Couple that entered office with one house can leave with four.

I think of William Pitt the Younger, refusing the largesse of the Crown so he could maintain his independence. When he entertained, he paid for the wine himself, and died poor. About how many politicians can we say the same?

Pitt's friend and occasional adversary, Wilberforce, who is described in our recent post Powerful Methods said –

“Mr. Pitt had foibles, and of course they were not diminished by. . .continuance in office; but for a clear and comprehensive view of the most complicated subject in all its relations; for that fairness of mind which disposes a man to follow out, and when overtaken to recognise the truth; for magnanimity, which made him ready to change his measures, when he thought the good of the country required it, though he knew he should be charged with inconsistency on account of the change; for willingness to give a fair hearing to all that could be urged against his own opinions, and to listen to the suggestions of men whose understanding he knew to be inferior to his own; for personal purity, disinterestedness, integrity, and love of his country, I have never known his equal. (Wilberforce and Wilberforce, 3.249–50)