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He's coming clean now

india Updated: Nov 09, 2010 22:40 IST

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That any former head of state might want to come clean on matters weighing down his chest is not surprising. But that one of their ilk, Tony Blair, might also have the necessary erudition and expertise on professional cleaning that he would like to share with the world might surprise even a dyed-in-the-wool cynic. Mr Blair, we learn, is going to address a conference of those who trade in toilet rolls, disinfectants, vacuum cleaners, tampons and lavatories.

But as with other good things of this world, his discourse will not be dirt cheap, with the audience having to shell out $1,000 to secure the 'best' seats as Tony himself, with unpoodle-like alacrity, cleans up $80,000 for the lecture.

Mr Blair isn't the only one making the most of his superannuated years. Close on his heels is former US president George W Bush, deciding to make a clean breast of his presidential years in his autobiography. With Mr Bush defending controversial techniques like waterboarding terror suspects, there isn't much left of his past that can raise a stink.

Which brings us to skills that politicians develop consequent to the demands of their office but that remain rarely exploited. Surely, those used to tricky, diplomatic negotiations in multilateral fora will not shy away from walking a circus tightrope once they retire. Nor will Indian politicians be daunted by the trapeze, after lifetimes spent switching allegiances.

It is, however, wiser to stick to the retirement model that the Anglophone leaders provide, lest one is condemned to suffer the fate of the developing world's despots — seeking political asylum and evading trial at the International Court of Justice in an effort to keep body and soul together (with some of the filthy lucre, if possible).