Money for jam

From a Telegraph report

Tony Blair has come under fire in the Chinese media for charging nearly £200,000 for a single speech – and not a good one at that.

The former prime minister spoke to businessmen and government officials in the industrial city of Dongguan, two hours’ north of Hong Kong, on Tuesday evening.

Local media estimates of his fee ranged from US$330,000 to US$500,000 (£160,000 to £240,000).

Although the real estate firm which hired him for a “VIP banquet” refused to confirm the sum, the local tax office admitted he had paid just under £80,000 in income tax and £6,500 for a three per cent business tax, which would work out to a total fee of about just under £200,000.

What made matters worse for newspaper commentators was that Mr Blair failed to say anything interesting.

One said he had trotted out the same platitudes about the importance of collaboration between government and business, and of the environment, as you would hear from the officials in his audience.

“Frankly, we are very familiar with all this – it’s just like listening to any county or city official’s reports,” Deng Qingbo wrote in the China Youth Daily…

The piece goes on to say that a recent US tour netted £300,000 for the disgraced former PM.