Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tony Blair's foundation shows cracks after he lectures Pope

Launched with great fanfare last year, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation already appears to be in some turmoil.

One of the former prime minister's closest aides has resigned amid rumours of a dispute over Blair's "lecturing" of the Pope about homosexuality.

William Chapman is stepping down from his role as policy adviser to the foundation.

"He was not happy with the interview that Blair gave to a gay magazine in which he said the Catholic Church needed to change its attitudes," says one of his friends.

"He had been tasked with persuading cardinals to become involved with the foundation and he felt that his job had been made impossible."

The charity is keen to deny any rift. "William has been a very important part of establishing the foundation," says Ruth Turner, its chief executive. "The work he has done will be of enduring value."

Poets at war

They may compose beautiful verse, but poets can be pugnacious. The contest to be the next Oxford Professor of Poetry closes on Wednesday and the fur is flying.

Michael George Gibson claims of his rival candidate, Ruth Padel: "Her understanding and appreciation of English poetry is severely limited."

Padel, for her part, alleges that he has been preoccupied with her since she was chairman of the Poetry Society.

Meanwhile, critics claim that Derek Walcott, 79, the most prominent contender, is too old for the post and would not visit enough from his home in the Caribbean.

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Source (TOUK)


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