July 23, 2019
Leicester is bustling on a sweaty Tuesday afternoon.
Its Just How It Is: Away From Westminster, Some People Think Not Voting For Boris Johnson Is Politics As Normal
A travelling fair is in town, its rides spinning on the city’s Abbey Park. Nearby, a Mr Whippy van does brisk trade near an outdoor gym.
Given the weather, you might think the news that Boris Johnson will become prime minister after being elected as the new Conservative Party leader 100 miles away in Westminster would be far from people’s minds.
Yet on a picnic bench besides the park’s cafe, an intense discussion is underway about just that. A woman reads a Sky News article about Johnson’s win out loud – verbatim – announcing the news to those nearby.
Public opinion of our system of government is at its lowest point since the MPs’ expenses scandal in 2009, according to a recent study by the Hansard Society, which also found an increasing appetite for radical political change as well as feelings of powerlessness and disengagement.
In Leicester, while talking about politics, there’s a sense from many of those HuffPost UK spoke to that selecting the next PM is none of their business. 
“That’s just how it is and there’s nothing we can do to change that,” Jessica, 68, says while sitting in a sensible patch of shade with her sister Vivian, 71.
The pair didn’t seem surprised by the news Johnson had won the leadership race, but nonetheless thought their lack of say wasn’t a problem.
“It doesn’t affect things now,” Vivian adds with a pause. “He needs to get a good [Brexit] deal, or whatever. I’m not too bothered about the election. I feel it wouldn’t have changed anything.”
Others were pleased with Johnson’s win, despite not having a vote. “Good on him,” Tristan Thompson, 36, says when asked about Johnson’s victory. “I like him. He’s not like the others.” 
Asked to elaborate, Thompson, a carpenter by trade, adds: “Well, he’s just not like the other ones we’ve had. He seems to want to get things done. And to be honest, I find him funny.”
Johnson, who gained 66% of the 138,809 votes cast by Tory party members, was chosen by a relatively small group of people considering the UK’s total population of roughly 66 million.
That doesn’t bother Thompson. “Well even if the public had had a vote, it would have been the same result, I think,” he says. “Let’s give him a go now the rest has had their chance.”
Supporters of Johnson have said similar things when challenged about an apparent lack of democracy in the process of choosing a new Conservative leader when the party is in government.Others add that, in a parliamentary democracy, it is general elections that count – people vote for their local MPs, not the PM – so a lack of “personal mandate” isn’t an issue.
But it was this absence of a perceived mandate that led Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, to head to the polls in 2017 – with disastrous consequences.
And Johnson’s new despatch box foe, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, pounced on Tuesday, saying Johnson “hasn’t won the support of our country”.
Johnson becoming prime minister without a poll of the wider public is an unpalatable turn of events for some.
“It’s hideous,” Ali Knighton, 44, says as she sits on a camping chair besides the boating lake. “He’s a nightmare.”
“It’s all turning into Years and Years,” Knighton’s friend, Sarah Fisk, also 44, adds in reference to the dystopian BBC TV drama. “It’s worrying.”
“It’s a weird one. I know more people should have had a vote,” Knighton says.
“I think it should have been a country vote,” Fisk adds. “I think when the Chancellor [Philip Hammond] said he would resign over Boris [Johnson] that should have spoken volumes.”“Yes,” Knighton agrees. “To have someone like that decide to go over it, it should have been taken more seriously.”
“There was infighting in [the Tory] party too, so if they can’t agree, how is that a fair for the rest of us?” she asks.
“It feels like we don’t know what’s happening anymore,” Fisk says.
“It’s creating apathy,” Knighton adds. “There’s no control.”
“I think they need to stop everything and have a re-think,” Fisk says.
Meanwhile, in Leicester’s busy central market, frustration lies on Britain’s delayed departure from the European Union. 
“I can’t say I like the other one,” Lisa Clough, 37, says with reference to Johnson’s failed opponent, Jeremy Hunt. “What I don’t get is why we aren’t out [of the EU] yet.”
Clough says that politicians in general have done a poor job of representing the people.
“I think they should have a reshuffle of the lot of them,” she adds, before returning to tend to a customer on her haberdashery stall.
For others, the question of a vote to choose prime minister comes down to party lines. “I wouldn’t vote Conservative,” Mark Curtis, 53, says when asked whether he would have liked a vote in the selection. 
“He might do well – and I hope he does – but I think they’ve messed it all up with Brexit,” he adds.
Curtis, who is long-term unemployed, mentions his difficulties providing references for previous jobs at companies that have gone into liquidation. 
“It’s things like that, that matter for me,” he adds.
For Knighton and Frisk, who spoke to HuffPost UK whilst looking after their children paddling in Abbey Park’s tempting lake, the scorching weather has brought with it a fresh perspective on politics.
“We were actually saying earlier when we heard the news [of Johnson’s win], it’s a beautiful day and we need to enjoy it and leave them lot [in Westminster] to it.”SEE ALSO Boris Johnson Has Won The Conservative Party Leadership Contest Donald Trump Just Hailed Boris Johnson As A 'Britain Trump' Boris Johnson Faces Tory Rebellion As He's Expected To Become Prime Minister
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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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