And I’m prepared to pay for it.
Not, it must be said, by behaving in a moral and virtuous fashion. That sort of cost is beyond my means. But I have saved a good deal of spare change and a large number of 19th-century Peruvian railway bonds so you needn’t worry about the money. You deliver the reputation, I’ll deliver the cash.
The difference between reputation and character was well-defined long ago – Paine noted that one was a human concern and one divine. But few had a good word for Thomas at the time and he’s not written anything new lately. In any case it is reputation that can be traded on the open market. Character is altogether a tougher sell.
I should be content if the media and the better sort of publication thought well of me, and delighted if they would bruit it about. I can stand any amount of unsubstantiated praise, as long as it is fulsome and accompanied by pictures of pretty girls and well-groomed dogs. The occasional doctored image showing rays of light beaming from my head or face would be nice too. Beams from other portions of my anatomy not so much…
If the social media would take me up I should be happy to engage in any sort of foolish talk they favour. I am convinced of the value of vaccination, hard work, and clean living, but if they would like me to spout nonsense I am prepared to bring my own soapbox. So many others have done so already. All I ask is a fair hearing that culminates in praise and offers to buy my books or to put me on a lecture for at $ 100 a seat.
I may not be a former Prime Minister, but I could be a future former one…for a price.