Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Has Blair screwed up over donation?

This is the most intriguing story of the day; just what did Blair promise, and what did he mean?

I don't know a great deal about publishing contracts, but I'd imagined that an advance was an advance of royalties. Blair's reported £4.6m, I'd imagine, is therefore made up of UK sales royalties, overseas sales royalties and UK and overseas serialisations. Mandy made £400k from his serialisation, so say a round £600k for Blair. As for the £4m, if he makes £20 a book (and this could be double the reality) he'd need to sell 200,000 copies for the publishers to break even. This, I'd imagine, is wildly optimistic. If the book only sells 30,000 copies, does he have to pay anything back? Maybe the publishers are happy to take their money in the long term, from future reprints and public lending rights payments, in regular dribbles.

As to what he's promised to give the RBL, this seems in doubt. The Mail's in no doubt this morning, saying "the former Prime Minister was trying to ‘ease his conscience’ by giving the £4.6million advance and any profits from his book to the Royal British Legion." but the Telegraph has a story that casts doubt on exactly what Blair has promised, and who gets the tax advantage.

There's the delicious possibility that Blair never intended to give his advance away, that what he meant was he'd keep the advance and the RBL could have anything earned by the book over and above this. Ambiguous phrasing and an August media starved of news meant the press had soon decided themselves what he meant - and that included the advance. If this is the case, it's too late to backtrack. The MSM should hang onto this story until Blair's donation becomes absolutely tangible.

As a footnote, there's nothing new in blood-soaked donkeys seeking reparation for their deeds; it was General Haig, perhaps the bloodiest butcher of the Western Front, who set up the Haig Fund in 1921.

8 comments:

Savonarola said...

Blood money but Blair will not see it thus - he is incapable of seeing himself for what he is : a shallow vain man who means well and who needs to be loved.

He believes he did the right thing in Iraq/Afghanistan but knows he lied and deceived to get his way. He needs absolution from these 'sins'. £5m a drop in the tsunami of $ he harvests in the US - his popularity assured because he did Bush's bidding.

The man in the mirror will not buy this cheap publicity stunt.

Anonymous said...

The BBC was all over this story last night like champagne socialists at a free bar.
The perceived 'exoneration' of their 'blue eyed boy' was for them a joyous occasion, what benificence! - they mewled.
Like all things Bliar, what you see and hear is never quite what you get, ah such is life!
Here in the real world, though the BBC have never had to worry about financial realities, just like their old hero, filling his boots daily with filthy lucre, some would call 'blood money'.

Anonymous said...

Blair, promises and pledges. Does anyone really think that these three words belong in the same sentence?? Really????

How many other headline grabbing promises and "bold new initiatives" has Blair launched in his miserable lying lifetime? Too many to count. And this one won't count either. I just hope that the truth behind this will hound that bastard to his grave.

Coney Island

Robert said...

French dead under Joffre (1914-1916) were 857,000.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Knowing this slippery customer I would not believe anything until the money is actually paid over and cleared in the bank.

And even then I'd worry.

I suspect this story will be long forgotten by the time the payments fall due, and the fact that he will then find a way to weasel out of them will pass completely un-noticed.

Tim Worstall said...

"I don't know a great deal about publishing contracts, but I'd imagined that an advance was an advance of royalties. Blair's reported £4.6m, I'd imagine, is therefore made up of UK sales royalties, overseas sales royalties and UK and overseas serialisations. Mandy made £400k from his serialisation, so say a round £600k for Blair. As for the £4m, if he makes £20 a book (and this could be double the reality) he'd need to sell 200,000 copies for the publishers to break even."

Yes, an advance is an advance on future royalties. Serialisation, some chunk goes to the publisher (ooh, 20%, 40%, depends on the contract). Same with overseas rights, advances and royalties.

Be more like £2 a book though (10% of cover....could be 15% though).

talwin said...

This has sweet FA to do with Blair easing his conscience or with benevolence. Rather it is a publicity stunt intended to mitigate the opprobrium increasingly (and deservedly) being directed at him and his ghastly wife for their worship and acquisition of lucre.

Anonymous said...

And you can buy it on Amazon at £12.50!!