April 07, 2023
9 political stunts that backfired as Labour faces backlash for Sunak attack ad
Labour is coming under fire over a political attack ad which claims Rishi Sunak does not think child sex abusers should go to prison. Pitching itself as the "party of law and order", Labour shared a photo of the prime minister on Twitter and said: "Do you think adults convicted of sexually assaulting children should go to prison? Rishi Sunak doesn’t.” It highlighted Labour analysis of Ministry of Justice data, saying: “Under the Tories, 4,500 adults convicted of sexually assaulting children under-16 served no prison time. Labour will lock up dangerous child abusers.” MPs from across the political spectrum have criticised the post, with former shadow chancellor and Labour backbencher John McDonnell saying: “We are better than this.” Shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell declined to say she stood by the Social Media message, but insisted it was part of the “cut and thrust” of political debate which sought to highlight the Tories’ record on law and order. Here, we take a look at some of the other campaign stunts through the years which have backfired: In August 2016, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tried to draw attention to the poor service train companies were providing customers in the UK by sitting down in the aisle of a packed carriage, claiming he could not get a seat. Mr Corbyn released a video of himself sitting on the floor of a Virgin East Coast train from London to Newcastle, arguing that “this is a problem that many passengers face every day”. But the stunt backfired when Virgin released CCTV images showing Mr Corbyn walking past rows of empty seats, which the firm said were not reserved. “Mr Corbyn and his team walked past empty, unreserved seats in coach H before walking through the rest of the train to the far end, where his team sat on the floor and started filming,” Virgin said in a statement at the time. “The same footage then shows Mr Corbyn returning to coach H and taking a seat there, with the help of the onboard crew, around 45 minutes into the journey and over two hours before the train reached Newcastle. Mr Corbyn’s team carried out their filming around 30 minutes into the journey.” A spokesperson for the company, which runs trains on the East Coast Mainline that runs from London to Edinburgh, added: “We have to take issue with the idea that Mr Corbyn wasn’t able to be seated on the service, as this clearly wasn’t the case.” A spokesperson for the former Labour leader said: “When Jeremy boarded the train he was unable to find unreserved seats, so he sat with other passengers in the corridor who were also unable to find a seat. “Later in the journey, seats became available after a family were upgraded to first class, and Jeremy and the team he was lwith were offered the seats by a very helpful member of staff.” Many observers of politics could not believe their eyes when, days before the May 2015 general election, former Labour leader Ed Miliband unveiled a stone tablet that listed his party’s priorities for government. Its lettering was engraved by Basking Stoke firm stoneCIRCLE at a cost of £7,1614, considerably less than the £30,000 reported at the time, and promised: “A Better Plan. A Better Future.” Beneath that, the values the monolith bore - reportedly approved by no fewer than 10 planning meetings attended by swathes of expensive public relations professionals - were: “A strong economic foundation; Higher living standards for working families; An NHS with the time to care; Controls on immigration; A country where the next generation can do better than the last; Homes to buy and action on rent.” But the 8ft structure bore a striking resemblance to the type of headstone seen at a grave and was quickly dubbed the ‘ Ed Stone ’. And history shows, Labour would go on to badly lose the election. The stone quickly vanished following Mr Miliband’s election defeat but was eventually found in a warehouse in Woolwich, southeast London before being destroyed, according to The Guardian. The newspaper was told by Tom Harris, former Labour MP for Glasgow South, that the Ed Stone had been destroyed: “My understanding is that more than one person, each with a sledgehammer, were involved. I also understand it was carried out in anger and panic.” During the same election campaign Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader at the time, was criticised for touring the country in a pink mini-bus while campaigning on women’s issues. Labour initially claimed that the bus was not pink but in fact magenta - a shade of pink - before defending the colour decision, saying it had to be eye-catching to attract the attention of the some 9 million Women who did not vote at the previous election in 2010. But some women said they found the colour of the bus “patronising” and a bit too “girly”. The party’s attempt to woo women voters with the lurid pink campaign ahead of the election appeared to backfire, with Twitter users blasting it as “Barbie-like” and more suited to a “hen night”. In 2008 a Labour candidate was ordered to tear up campaign leaflets branding her opponent a “Tory toff” Fighting for the Crewe and Nantwich seat at a byelection, Tasmin Dunwoody put out a pamphlet highlighting the problem of youth crime and regeneration. “Do you really think a Tory toff from Tarporley cares?” it said referring to her opponent Edward Simpson. It also dubbed Mr Timpson an “out-of-touch Tory”. Labour later backed down on the language but would go on to lose the seat with a 17.6 per cent swing to the Conservatives, a victory that heaped pressure on then prime minister Gordon Brown, who went on to lose the 2010 general election. During a fiery exchange at Prime Minister’s Questions in January last year, Mr Johnson claimed that current Labour leader Keir Stamer had failed to prosecutive paedophile Jimmy Saville while he was director of the Crown Prosecution Service. Mr Johnson, who was at the time coming under pressure over the Partygate scandal, told MPs in the Commons: “This Leader of the Opposition, a former Director of Public Prosecutions — although he spent most of his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile, as far as I can make out — chose to use this moment continually to prejudge a police inquiry." The remark sparked outrage from MPs across the political spectrum - including some on the government benches. He made the unfounded claim, which has been discredited before, in the House of Commons where parliamentary privilege gives MPs certain legal protections over what they say. A BBC Reality Check found no evidence that Mr Starmer was involved at any point in the decision not to charge Savile, who died in 2011 without being charged for any crimes. Mr Johnson later retracted the remark. During the 2019 election campaign, the Conservative Party was accused of misleading the public after it changed its official Twitter page to ‘factcheckUK’. In recent years the public have turned to fact-checking websites such as Full Fact, BBC Reality Check and other services to verify claims made by politicians in the media and elsewhere. The Conservative Party changed its Twitter page to factcheckUK during a televised debate between Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn. The Twitter handle stayed the same but all other branding - including the profile picture - was changed to mimic a fact-checking organisation. When Twitter users click through they would have seen a disclaimer that factcheckUK was “fact checking Labour from CCHQ”, ” the acronym for Conservative campaign headquarters. The page was changed back to CCHQ press shortly after the debate finished. Twitter said in a statement that it had rules in place to prohibit misleading behaviour. “Any further attempts to mislead people by editing verified profile information - in a manner seen during the UK Election Debate - will result in decisive corrective action,” it said. In March last year it emerged that a car used by Mr Sunak - chancellor at the time - to promote his 5p cut to fuel duty did not belong to him. Mr Sunak posed for photos while filling up a Kia Rio outside at a Sainsbury’s garage. The photograph, posted on Mr Sunak’s social media feeds at the moment the cut announced in Wednesday’s spring statement took effect, sparked incredulity among Twitter users. Many did not believe that the chancellor – a former banker worth millions – would drive a Kia Rio, a modest family hatchback that retails from around £13,000 new. It later emerged that the vehicle had been borrowed from a Sainsbury’s employee who worked at the garage. During the same visit Mr Sunak struggled to use his debit card while paying for his fuel and other items. Conservative MP Lee Anderson was accused by Labour of “harassing” his own staff member and using her as a political Football in a row over food bank use. The Tory MP has repeatedly attracted controversy on the subject after claiming there is no “massive use” for food banks in Britain, and suggesting people use them because they are unable to cook or budget “properly”. Mr Anderson shared a photo of a office staff member called Katy to make his point – saying she earned less than £30,000 and did not need to use a food bank. “Katy makes my point really well.” He said that people earning £30,000 who had to use food bank “cannot budget”. The comments sparked outrage among anti-poverty campaigners, unions and MPs. In January last year Grant Shapps apologised for “inadvertently” airbrushing former PM Mr Johnson out of a photo celebrating a space launch in Cornwall . The then business secretary claimed he told staff Mr Johnson needed “hair-brushing, not airbrushing” from the tweet. Social media users pointed out that a photo published by Mr Shapps on Twitter ahead of the first orbital launch attempt from UK soil was near identical to another from 2021. However, while Mr Shapps’s photo portrayed him alone during a visit to LauncherOne in Cornwall, the earlier image showed him alongside Mr Johnson. The original photo remains on the Number 10 Flickr account, dated June 9 2021.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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