Tony Blair Hub
John McCain's campaign manager and chief strategist exit: "In statements, Terry Nelson, a veteran of President Bush's successful 2004 re-election effort, said he resigned as campaign manager effective immediately and John Weaver said he stepped down from his post of chief strategist on Tuesday. But other officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid discussing private conversations, said Nelson was fired."
Capturing the cherry at Cherry Grove, Fire Island.
Former Dead or Alive singer Pete Burns got hitched: "This is the second marriage for Burns, who was married for twenty-five years to his wife Lynne. During Burns' stint on Celebrity Big Brother on live television, he announced the couple's wedding engagement. One break-up and reconciliation later, the two scooted themselves down the aisle."
Bill Richardson apologizes for using "maricón" slur after being goaded by Don Imus in 2006: "Almost exactly one year before Imus was to lose his show for using a slur to describe the Rutger’s women’s basketball team, the shock jock used the Spanish word 'maricón' in an on-air exchange with Richardson. 'Bernard on the staff here has been claiming you’re not really Hispanic so-- that you're just claiming that for some sort of advantage or something,' Imus said to Richardson, tongue clearly in cheek. 'You can just answer this yes or no and this will answer that question. Would you agree that Bernard is a maricón?' Without missing a beat, Richardson replied in Spanish, 'Yo creo que Bernardo, sí — es un maricón si él piensa que yo no soy hispano. [General laughter] Was that good enough or what? [General laughter]' 'That’s good enough for me,' Imus replied."
Groove Armada's Andy Cato says they'll lead Kylie Minogue back to the top of the charts: "Ours is the best tune. The track we've done is a killer. It's sort of Blondie pop with a stripped-back sound. I'm quietly confident about it."
Desperately Seeking Susan coming to the London stage.
Victoria Beckham reality show to air July 16th: "It's funny. People really get to see what I'm really like. I have quite a dry sense of humor, which I hope is going to translate to Americans. I'm incredibly blessed and I wanted to show that to everybody."
Former communications director at 10 Downing Street reveals in diary entry that Tony Blair laughed when he learned of the gay mugging of then Welsh Secretary Ron Davies: "We took him (Blair) into the dining room and told him what we knew. "He looked surprised but not shocked and then, as I had, laughed. 'Bloody hell' he said."
The Independent reports that Brian Paddick, who retired from his position as Deputy Assistant Commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police at the end of May, has been given a six-figure book deal and will be writing a book about his career:
"Paddick met the editorial director of Simon & Schuster, Andrew Gordon, in September last year. Gordon has bought the rights and arranged for Paddick to pen the book with the crime writer Kris Hollington. 'Brian has left the force and has no restraint on what he can say apart from the libel laws," Gordon tells me. "He'll say exactly what he thinks about how the Met is run and how it might be better run in the future.'"
The book will hold potentially explosive revelations about the inner workings of London's police force. Paddick went up against Ian Blair following the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, challenging Blair's statement that he didn't know an innocent man had been killed until 24 hours after it happened.
One of Paddick's acquaintances told the paper that the former commander has a habit of not holding much back: "He's so indiscreet that I'm not sure how much will be left for the book."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair today announced he'll be stepping down as of June 27th. Blair made the announcement at the Trimdon Labour Club in his constituency of Sedgefield in northern England. In his farewell speech, Blair made note, among other things, of his achievements in gay rights.
While Tony Blair's statement that "people are today open-minded about race and sexuality" is a stretch in most quarters, there's no doubt that Britain has made greater strides in that arena than we have in the United States in the past decade.
Said Blair: "Think about the culture of Britain in 2007. I don't just mean our arts that are thriving. I mean our values - the minimum wage, paid holidays as a right, amongst the best maternity pay and leave in Europe, equality for gay people."
We'll look forward to the day that comes out of the mouth of an American leader.
British gay activist Peter Tatchell praised Blair's record, according to UK Gay News: "During Tony Blair's Prime Ministership, anti-gay laws that had existed for decades, or even centuries, were repealed. Nearly all homophobic legislation was removed from the statute books in less than a decade – a truly breath-taking pace of reform that has greatly improved the lives of lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Congratulations and thanks to the Labour government – and to MPs from all parties who backed gay law reform."
Tatchell also noted that Blair "squandered many opportunities" and reminded that many of Blair's 'achievements' (age of consent laws, gays in the military, end to workplace discrimination) came only after pressure from the European Court of Human Rights and European Union directives.
Certain current Labour Party policies still need to be tackled, said Tatchell: "[Labour] support the ban on same-sex marriage, deport gay asylum seekers, and refuse to prohibit incitement to homophobic hatred. The battle for queer equality isn't finished yet. We still have a way to go."
Tony Blair's resignation speech, in two parts.
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Tony Blair addressed the British gay rights group Stonewall yesterday at a dinner at the Dorchester hotel in London, and recalled the work he had done over the years as Prime Minister advancing gay rights in Britain.
Blair told the crowd of the "pride" and "joy" he experienced upon seeing the first civil partnerships take place in the UK: "I was so struck by it, it was so alive, I remember actually seeing the pictures on television. It is not often that you sort of skip around in my job, I can assure you, But it really the fact that that the people were so happy and the fact that you felt just one major, major change had happened, of which everyone can feel really proud. And now I think we were just saying, was it 16,000 civil partnerships, and what is interesting now is that other countries in Europe are looking at this legislation, and it is very divisive still in Spain and Italy at the moment. But nonetheless it is happening...There are a whole load of different pieces of legislation, which I will not rehearse here, but what has happened is that the culture of the country has changed in a definable way as a result of it. And here is what I think is really interesting. The change in the culture and the civilising effect of it has gone far greater than the gay and lesbian community."
Blair also reminisced about a speech he gave in 1994 regarding an amendment on equality on the age of consent in the UK:
"They had come together to move an amendment on equality on the age of consent. The thing that really struck me, re-reading the speech this evening, was just how a whole lot of things that nowadays we would more or less take for granted.
I mean, you had to start literally with the very, very first principles. including arguments like: “how do you stop people being persuaded to be gay?”
And I was thinking that is an interesting idea.
I have got five really good arguments in favour of being gay. And I remember saying to the guy who was on the opposite side afterwards: "You know, I am not gay and I wouldn’t be persuaded by five really good arguments."
And he said to me: "No, no, of course not, of course not." And I said: "But maybe it is the same the other way round?" He had never thought of it like that at all obviously."
Blair's comments come just as the House of Lords voted to pass an Equality Act forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, a measure that the Catholic Church has been up in arms about because, they said, the laws would require them to go against their religious beliefs in providing adoption services to same-sex couples.
A photograph taken of English Prime Minister Tony Blair (top row, center) while he was at Oxford in the 70's has been in circulation for a while — in a more sanitized state. The photograph had an "obscene gesture" excised from it to protect the PM's image.
Father Nicholas, a contemporary of Blair's at Oxford who originally provided the photo to a news agency with the prerequisite that the gesture be taken out, said he wasn't surprised that the original image has finally surfaced.
He added: "I suppose the BBC lawyers would be a bit worried if I was to suggest he was drunk in that photo. On the other hand, it's probably more defamatory to say he was sober."
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