On Nigel Farage
Any current talk regarding politics no doubt involves Nigel Farage and Archer was asked of his opinion on the UKIP leader. He described him as the most able and articulate politician in the country today, despite only having two policies (to get us out of Europe and to control immigration). Archer also said that he’d never seen a phenomenon like it in his lifetime and that one of the biggest mistakes of the Conservative party has been under-estimating him. He stated that UKIP only need 7% of the vote to stop a Conservative government, but believes Farage would like a coalition with the party.
Future of politics
Looking to the future of politics, Archer believes people, especially those with families and mortgages, do not see politics as a viable career because the pay is so abominable. He thinks the pay is ‘stupidly low’, for the job. He explained that during his days in parliament a bill was put forward for members or parliament to be paid whatever a number 2 grade civil servant is paid. If they’d stuck to that the figure would now be £142,000. This was subsequently voted against.
“I told them at the time, Grab it while you can”, Mr Archer quipped. “The result now is that whenever a pay rise comes up, everybody says this is the wrong time for an increase. You’ll never have a prime minister saying it’s the right time for one! Because of this, they have now fallen way behind.”
In terms of current leaders he believes that women are making better Prime Ministers than men, outlining Angela Merkel as an outstanding leader, as well as Hilary Clinton. He explained that he wants his Prime Minister to be a very serious person. ‘Somebody has to press the button; someone has to send our troops wherever they need to go.’
Mr Archer has at times been ever-present in the media spotlight. He was asked about his experiences during the tougher times in his career. He first suggested that he could have had a much easier life just writing books, but wanted to make changes and contribute. Archer also talked about Lloyd George and how the Prime Minister had numerous mistresses and illegitimate children, which at the time was not even questioned. Nobody could escape that now and that the feared that public figures lives being in the media is potentially losing potentially valuable individuals from the profession, who are not willing to be placed under such heavy scrutiny.
He then stated that if you spend your whole life focussing on regret then you won’t have much of a life, and proclaimed that when he made his mistakes, he focussed on writing and kept his head down, also doing lots of charity auctions, raising £42 million. Archer also stated how lucky he was, as a lot of people don’t have a second thing that they can do, as he did with writing.
Difficult questions about his trial, prison and whether he thought normal rules didn’t apply to him especially over his lies, were answered with staccato replies, mainly no. When pushed he said, “I said no, no and no”!
Having sold 270 million books, Archer is well placed to advise budding writers. Despite now being a more-publically known figure, 17 publishers had turned down his first novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less.
Archer described story telling as a gift and writing as good education. “If you have a first-class education you can be a good writer. But like a ballet dancer, singer, or painter, story-telling is a god-given gift. You’ve either got it or you haven’t. And then you have to work extremely hard.” My latest book was completed after its 14th edit.
He named his favourite book as “Beware of pity”, written by Stefan Zwieg. Archer rounded up the grilling with a final conclusion. He stated how lucky he has been and also how much he appreciated the position he was in. He exclaimed how some 30 years ago in America, whilst selling ‘Kane and Abel’, things weren’t going very well, “They didn’t know me and they weren’t interested in the book. I went on a TV show and I guy stood up to proclaim, “This is the best book I’ve read in 30 years”.
The man was Jonny Carson. He had told 42 million people, and at that point the book was in the best-seller list. It was number 1 three days later. “I say every day of my life that I’m very thankful, very lucky, and very privileged”.
In thanking Jeffrey Archer David Selves said that Archer’s reply to a vote of thanks he’d given him at a dinner in 1982 was that he was going to outsell the bible. “How’s it going, Jeffrey?” “God’s still winning,” was the instant reply!