Pandora: No thanks, Mr Blair: Filipinos snub ex-PM

Click to follow
The Independent Online

And so to the latest twist in Tony Blair's career as a "peacemaker". It is, it should be said, a rather delightful one. For while most world leaders are only too pleased to be seen brunching with the former PM, it would appear that others – in this case legislators in the Philippine province of North Cotabato – prefer to keep their distance.

Startled by news that Blair had been invited on to a panel of "eminent" persons mediating between the country's warring factions, the vice- governor of North Cotabato issued an urgent statement entitled: "Thank You, Mr Tony Blair, But No Thanks." If charisma is all that is needed to solve the problem, he argues, why not involve some of the country's most popular actresses?

"Perhaps we should invite Judy Ann Santos and Sharon Cuneta?" adds the statement. "Maybe they can use their charm and charisma to convince people to end their terrorist activities."

The proposal, while thought-provoking, has yet to cause visible ripples among Blair's staff. "I don't know what this is a reference to," a spokesman said. "Mr Blair doesn't have any involvement."

No Laugharne matter, Irvine

Oh, dear. The organisers of this year's Laugharne Weekend appear less than impressed by Irvine Welsh's last-minute cancellation.

The Scottish novelist had agreed some time ago to address the literary festival, held every April in Wales – but has been forced to cancel after double-booking the date.

"Apparently he's in India that weekend," explains a note on the festival website. "This is really quite annoying. Maybe it's not his fault. Apologies."

Ken does his bit for modern morals

One suspects that Ken Livingstone could be doing rather more to help out with government crackdowns on anti-social behaviour. On Wednesday night the former mayor of London appeared at the trendier-than-thou north London bar the Boogaloo where, alongside a discerning selection of indie bands, he addressed punters on the "virtues of modern life". "Who here will admit that they have been to a strip club?" an enthusiastic Livingstone asked the pint-swilling audience. "And did anyone want to sleep with the dancer afterwards?" After a moment's pause, one plucky drinker put up his hand... only to be rewarded with a free drink. Tsk.

Alfie Allen becomes a regular catwalk fan

News, now, to strike fear into the heart of any retrosexual male: Alfie Allen, formerly of Evisu jeans and Foot Locker trainers, claims to have experienced a high-fashion conversion.

The (newly) dandyish young actor has been sitting in the front row at catwalk shows with increasing regularity – and not only, it would seem, for the sake of his girlfriend, the actress Jamie Winstone.

"I particularly liked the Westwood shows," Allen says.

"They have a great mood, great clothes and really good music. I'm getting a much better appreciation of it all. I'm still no expert but it has definitely become an interest."

How long until his father Keith follows suit?

Next stop for Eustice

Another career change for George Eustice, David Cameron's former spokesman, and more recently the Tories' director of external relations.

He has announced his intention to join Portland PR – the agency set up by Alastair Campbell's one-time deputy, Tim Allen. The move is the latest in a long list of career swaps for Eustice. Previous incarnations include Antipodean backpacker, European election candidate for UKIP and... strawberry farmer.