As you can imagine, taxpayers in the UK are up in arms having learned that the cost of providing security for the launch of former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s book launch in September will be funded by them.
The cost of security for the launch goes into six figures, and Tony Blair has apparently decided to go ahead with this major book signing event at Waterstone’s bookstore in London, despite being warned that this is likely to cause a huge security headache for the police.
Mr Blair is being paid £4.6 million (in the region of $7 million) advance on sales of the book, which is entitled “Tony Blair – A Journey”.
It is expected that thousands of protesters against the war in Iraq will stage angry demonstrations outside what is Waterstone’s Flagship Store in London, and a group called the “Stop The War Coalition” called yesterday for a boycott of Waterstone’s, unless it cancels this event.
A spokesperson said that the book should be “signed in blood” and also that “It is a disgrace that he is swanning around with police protection at our expense – he should be in The Hague on trial for war crimes”.
It was only in January that taxpayers had to pay £273,000 to protect Tony Blair, who is a multi-millionaire, when he appeared at the Iraq Inquiry and faced a demonstration by protesters. It is understood that the cost of policing for his book signing will require a similar cost.
Waterstone’s have refused to comment, except to say that they are taking the matter of security seriously.
Should you want to wait in line for a copy of the book, which is priced at £25 ($40), you will be required to hand in your mobile phone and other personal items. No photography will be allowed at the event, and Mr. Blair’s office has added that he will not be making personal dedications either.
I think personally that this will all serve to make Tony Blair even more popular in the eyes of the British Public than he is now – I jest of course.
Should Tony Blair insist on going ahead with this book launch, I think it is only fair that he pay the costs of security out of his own pocket, and not rely on the British Taxpayer to account for it.
Either that, or he should give all taxpayers a free copy, which they can sell (hopefully) on eBay for £5.
Gordon Brown, who succeeded Tony Blair as Prime Minister, launched his own book four months ago, and it has apparently been a huge flop. The book, “Change We Choose”, which is a collection of Gordon Brown’s speeches from 2007-2009, is ranked a poor 262,956 on Amazon.
I could add that nobody enjoyed his speeches the first time around, but to put them in a book, well no wonder it flopped.
The Daily Mail