Blair’s city academies – the Roman Catholic seed
Father Seed is the ‘ecumenical adviser’ to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, and is known as ‘priest to the stars’ because of his involvement with very high-profile conversions, including Duchess of Kent, John Gummer and Ann Widdecombe. The Daily Telegraph reports that he has used his contacts with wealthy businessmen to raise millions of pounds for Labour’s city academies. It would appear that his frequent visits to Downing Street have not merely been to conduct private masses for the Blairs, or even to advise the Prime Minister on conversion to Catholicism, but to discuss how millions of pounds may be raised to finance government initiatives. Perhaps most significantly, the transactions involve one Anthony Bailey, a leading Roman Catholic and millionaire public relations executive, who is to chair the Government's ‘Faith Task Force’ when it launches next month. Is this ‘Cash for QUANGOs’? The sums involved are reported to be £8 million for the funding of four academies.
Apparently, the connection of Father Seed to the academies project has caused concern at the most senior levels of the Roman Catholic Church, with Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor privately expressing ‘deep unease’. The Cardinal has told senior bishops that he feared the introduction could be seen as ‘blurring the boundaries between the Church and party politics’. Strange, that, given his church’s historic support for the Labour Party in the UK, and its fusion on the Continent with the ‘Christian Democrat’ parties…
But knowing the Blairs has certainly brought its benefits. Last week Father Seed was able to launch his childhood memoir Nobody's Child in the House of Commons. Cranmer does not wish to make light of Michael Seed’s appalling abuse and evidently traumatic childhood, but the religio-political activities of this priest would appear to be worthy of a much greater degree of scrutiny.