Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tony Blair's GQ Philanthropist of the Year Award For African Charity Gets Thumbs Down

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Former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair was named Philanthropist of the Year last night at the GQ Awards, but many have called him undeserving of the honor. The tribute to Mr Blair on the GQ website read:

‘In 2007 Tony Blair stepped down as prime minister, but his surging momentum’s shown no signs of slowing. Alongside his role as a Middle East peace envoy, Blair’s channelled his energy into philanthropy, establishing three charities.

‘The Tony Blair Sports Foundation pairs volunteer sport coaches with children in Britain’s North East and his Faith Foundation aims to reconcile the three Abrahamic faiths, but his most ambitious is the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative.

'Launched in 2008, the foundation operates in six African countries – Sierra Leone, Rwanda Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Senegal – where teams work alongside government bodies to bridge the gap between African leaders’ visions for a better future and their government’s ability to implement it.'

GQ magazine’s decision drew immediate criticism, with Labour MP John Mann saying:

‘It sends the wrong message. This sort of award should go to an unsung hero who has given up their time for charity.’

Tory MP Charlie Elphicke pointed out that Mr Blair has advised Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, including on how to improve his image after his police killed 14 unarmed protesters. He said:

‘It is jaw dropping that he should be given this award given his involvement in spinning the alleged brutal massacre in Kazakhstan.

Some commenters took to Twitter to share their thoughts;

But BBC journalist Sarfraz Manzoor tweeted:

‘It has been another hard day and just when I needed a laugh Tony Blair wins philanthropist of the year at the GQ awards.’

Because the awards are popular with the celebrities, many have put forward the theory that GQ deliberately gave Tony Blair the award as a publicity stunt, even though many more are more deserving than he is.

Do you think Tony Blair deserves the award?

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