Former Prime Minister John Major of the United
Kingdom at Oxonian Society
At the elegant Oxonian
Society’s annual black tie gala
recently in Manhattan, former Prime Minister John Major alternately
regaled and charmed the guests with his wit while driving several
important points home.
“France lost its empire but 'nobody told them’” he
said to laughter. In a serious vein the Minister advised that
we must combine the war on terror with the war on poverty.
He noted that 50 percent of the world’s population lives
on less than a dollar a day. He said another 20 percent lives
on less than 2 dollars a day. The United States and Great Britain
need to do a lot more in helping people get out of poverty
worldwide. Britain and America are the two closest allies in
the Western world, he said.
Most of the audience
was surprised when the Minister revealed that the USA was
his second home. His father grew up in Pennsylvania in the
1880s. This is not a joke he prefaced: when he was born “my
father was 65, and my mother was surprised!”
In speaking about running
for public office again, he said he would not seek office
because politics has become driven by sound bytes. He shared
that the best sound byte he ever heard was when Boris Yeltsin
lunched with him and described the Russian economy in one
word: “Good,” said Yeltsin.
When asked to further describe the Russian economy in two words
Yeltsin responded, “not good,” to responding laughter
among the guests.#