But Prince Andrew and Andrew Cuomo show things could be worse
By Ricky Browne
Stepping down as Prime Minister may have been the best thing David Cameron ever did for his material success.
The BBC’s Panorama has reported this week that Cameron made about £7.2 million from working part time as an advisor for Greensill Capital– a company that now appears to have been somewhat dodgy and which has now collapsed.
“David Cameron and the missing billions” is the name of the Panorama episode, currently available on BBC iPlayer.
His presence on the Greensill board helped the company to attract some serious investors – but there is now a question over how legit the company was in some of its investment deals.
For a salary reported to be about US$1 million per year, Cameron had to work 25 days a year as an adviser to the board according to the Financial Times earlier this month.
Cameron has denied that he made anything like that amount in a recent statement. But previously, when giving evidence to the Treasury Committee back in May, he said that Greensill paid him a “generous annual amount – far more than what I earned as prime minister”.
But he also said that he had “shares in the business, which vested over the period time of my contract.” It is those shares that the BBC says were worth about £7.2 million. Not bad for just over two years of part time work.
Meanwhile, the situation for Cameron got even stickier today, when the BBC reported that David Cameron made a personal appearance on stage to help sell Greensill Investment products to wealthy individuals connected to Credit Suisse back in 2019.
As prime minister, Cameron had to make do with a salary of just over £150,000 – but at least he got free accommodation at a flat in Downing Street.
When he left office it is reported that he continued to collect an allowance from the government of £115,000 a year – but no longer had the benefit of a flat. The allowance is supposed to help former Prime Minister to cover the costs of ongoing public engagements.
And even if he hadn’t been so lucky as to get that job with Greensill – a man he employed as an unpaid advisor to work at Downing St while he was prime minister – Cameron still should have been well off, as ex-Prime Ministers such as Tony Blair and Theresa May are believed to earn £100,000 for giving speeches.
Present at board meetings, Cameron should have been known about the workings of the company – including the quality of its investment products.
But a spokesman for Cameron told Panorama that “It is also preposterous to suggest that he would work for any company if he was aware that it was behaving improperly, or was in any way seeking to mislead investors.”
In his role, Cameron communicated with the Treasury and the Bank of England to allow the company to benefit from the UK’s COVID rescue programmes – including communicating with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. But his attempts, which included at least 54 messages via WhatsApp and other means, eventually amounted to nothing.
David Cameron – who some may say was the Tories answer to Labour’s Tony Blair – was one of the youngest Prime Ministers when he took office, and was still young when he stepped down.
The public knew that in his retirement he had bought a shed for the bottom of his garden where he wrote his memoirs in a book that no one particularly wanted to read.
But the public didn’t know that Cameron — who had the good fortune to have his own fortune and to have married a woman with a significant fortune as well – would not have to struggle to get by.
Still, though Cameron is getting a lot of flak for what people say is his profiteering at the expense of the tax payer, it is likely that if he can keep his head down, he will lose nothing but more of his reputation.
And as bad as things may currently look, he’s still got a fair bit of change, and at least he’s not Prince Andrew – facing a possible civil court case in the United States over sexual abuse. He is surely well on his way to making sure that this a second annus horribilis for his mother.
And at least he’s not Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, who is now resigning due to accusations of sexual misconduct.
There’s got to be at least seven million reasons why things for David Cameron aren’t as bad as they could be.