Tuesday, May 26, 2009
My last post, really, on the Battle of the Bards
Padel won the vote nine days ago. But in a statement tonight she said: "I genuinely believe that I did nothing intentional that led to Derek Walcott's withdrawal from the election. I wish he had not pulled out. I did not engage in a smear campaign against him, but, as a result of student concern, I naively--and with hindsight unwisely--passed on to two journalists, whom I believed to be covering the whole election responsibly, information that was already in the public domain."In subsequent remarks made earlier today at the Hay Festival, Padel suggested she may have been the victim of a Machiavellian conspiracy. She was meanwhile "trailed by security guards, a measure usually reserved for ex-presidents and pop stars. An event that she chaired this afternoon--a conversation with Emma Darwin, on the latter's latest novel--was monitored by four stewards, a press officer and two guards." I find the Praetorian Guard routine a little weird. What I find even weirder is the idea of a poet having a campaign manager for the Oxford post.
She said she had acted in "good faith" and would have been "happy to lose to Derek, but I can see that people might interpret my actions otherwise. I wish to do what is best for the university and I understand that opinion there is divided. I therefore resign from the chair of poetry."
Listen to his dignified response: