Last Friday, we went to see The Ghost Writer. It stars Pierce Brosnan as Adam Lang, an out-of-power British Prime Minister who now lives in the world’s most desolate beach house on the American shore, with his wife, his mistress/appointments secretary, and, until recently, a ghost writer assigned to finish his memoirs. The ghost writer, unfortunately, has died, and so a new chap — enter McGregor’s character — is brought in to finish the job.
There’s more to the story than that, as it tries to turn from a mild career piece to political action thriller, but those are the main points. About a third of the way through, we find out that Lang is about to be tried at the Hague for having turned a few British citizens over to the United States for torture/interrogation. His sharply-dressed lawyer advises him to stay in America, one of the few countries that doesn’t recognize the International Court.
Lang is clearly based on Tony Blair (at least up to this point). He’s a liability to the current British government, who won’t support him in his quest to avoid prosecution, largely because he was seen as a Pro-America war monger (and not wrongly).
Just this week, it’s been revelaed that Blair has fought for two years to keep secret his contract with UI Energy, a South Korean oil company with “extensive interests in Iraq,” according to the Daily Mail. Blair has made about 20 million pounds (so about $30M U.S.) since leaving office; part of this comes from being a lecturer for the Washington Speakers Bureau, and part of it is from a book advance (someone, please check in on his ghost writer, stat!).
The Mail also discusses its findings that Blair currently costs the U.K. about 2 million pounds a year just in security fees, because he requires a larger contingent than current P.M. Gordon Brown.
Which raises an interesting question: Should Tony Blair be living in America?
I doubt he would need such strict security here, in part because, well, I love my fellow citizens, but I think a good 60 percent of them would be hard-pressed to pick Tony Blair out of a crowd. I think general American disposition toward Blair isn’t nearly as negative here as it is in Britain, anyway, as we tend to see George W. Bush as the be-all, end-all of blame magnets for the Iraq war. If anything, Blair is something of a tragic figure over here: lured in by American promises, used for American ends, and left to twist when he no longer served our purposes.
He could probably find some beach-side property in, say, blustery Maine for not too many of those pounds, and he’d be safe both from ICC prosecution (sigh, America) and the Daily Mail.
I’m sure it’d send a bad signal, politically, but so does the fact that it requires 657 shifts of police to protect you when you go to testify.
We’re fun. Try us out. We have semi-national health care (well, soon).