January 10, 2020
Compared to the intense scrutiny of the 2019 general election campaign, the Labour leadership contest takes place in relative obscurity. That being said, the air of existential threat which accompanied Labour’s bid has failed to diffuse: next time, the party must “win or die”, warned Angela Rayner as she launched her deputy leadership bid this week. Given the size of the Tory majority, the next leader may prove to be a mid-project martyr. 
To Solve Labours Identity Crisis, Candidates Must Leave Labels Behind
Labour supporters are right to ask the big questions sooner rather than later. Who does the party currently represent? Who does it need to represent in order to win? How might supporters situate this future winning coalition within the party’s historical narrative? Does it even need to? As MPs have been announcing their candidacies over recent days, a variety of nods, gestures and half-answers to these questions have emerged. Rebecca Long Bailey plans to “radically democratise the economy”; Lisa Nandy to “empower frontline professionals” to run public services; Jess Phillips to “stand up for those who feel they can’t stand up for themselves”; Keir Starmer to “open up power and opportunity to all our communities”; Emily Thornberry to “foresee and exploit Johnson’s failings”.
At this early stage (voting begins 21 February), a clear proposal of party identity is essential. Labour needs policy and narrative derived from scrupulously upheld values; not, as in 2019, values inferred by the electorate from poorly-packaged policy. On the fabled doorstep, Labour became the party of fiscal carelessness, foreign policy ineptitude and fatally, European indecision — all fronted by a widely unpalatable leader who mismanaged a crippling anti-Semitism crisis. Now, in the deepest depths of opposition, Labour has a chance to decide what it wants to become. If another phenomenon is to transcend single-issue status and become a moral determinant, then Labour must ensure it be the climate crisis.Attempting to rewire the party’s appeal by alluding to cultural conservatism is risky. Rebecca Long Bailey’s initial call for “progressive patriotism” implicitly subscribed to election analyses, which cast Labour’s diverse metropolitan base as the key turn-off to voters in its “traditional” Northern heartlands. Clive Lewis’ pitch — a plotted biography of mixed-race struggle — warns against “attempts to mimic their [the right’s] frames around migration and a distorted view of patriotism”. Perhaps most intelligently, Lisa Nandy’s proposal ends by outlining the shared risks of either approach. She promises to end “the wholesale patronising of working people as a homogeneous group”— the clumsy hallmark of both pandering to xenophobia within white Englishness, and choosing to abandon all “Red Wall” voters because of perceived blanket bigotry. 
The Wigan MP’s initial offering is noticeably quiet on Britishness, patriotism and her own mixed-raced backstory; a strict regional focus is preferred to potentially clumsy meta-narratives. In this she echoes leftist academic Alex Niven, who argues that regionalism is a “more enlightened way to channel tribal feeling than any of our available nationalist fictions”. Understanding that England’s current nationalism is just one among several potential belief systems — many of which can be cultivated in between general elections while reflecting Labour’s egalitarian values — may be a valuable position should Nandy proceed to the ballot. Scotland’s however, poses a huge problem for all. Related... Who Can Take Boris Johnson On? Long Bailey’s official launch did calm concerns: “I will never throw migrants or BAME communities under the bus,” she wrote. But her correction draws attention to deeper complexities about the relationship between national identity and the Labour party after 4 April. 
Central to this is whether (and how) candidates will move beyond demographic labels which not only fail to describe the socio-economic topography of 2020 Britain, but which are themselves the bases of post-election homogenisation narratives. Monolithic class labels, not unlike the “skilled/unskilled” language of reactionary immigration policies, risk fomenting further discrimination towards vulnerable groups, needlessly pitted against each other in the name of political diagnostics. Social stratifications must adjust to the 21st century realities of home ownership, precarious work, student debt and declining manual labour industries. After the election result, critics atomised Labour into its supposedly irreconcilable voter groups using these dated metrics, ignoring Britain’s rapidly shifting demographic sands. Politics professor Matthew Goodwin splitting the party into three entities and calling one group an “awkward alliance of students and ethnic minorities” is a case in point of this theoretical divide and conquer. As with a similar argument made about the US Democrats, such analysis often seems to suggest terminal disunity — not a strong starting point for any leadership candidate.
Labour should also be mindful of the Conservative’s willingness to abandon class-based conceptions of voting behaviour in order to win power. It wasn’t images of city traders that adorned the 2019 Tory manifesto, but employees of Middlesborough’s Wilton Engineering clutching a “We Love Boris” placard. Eager to cement votes that Johnson conceded were only “lent” to his party in 2019, the Tories will continue to co-opt Labour’s historic imagery. Clearly the Tories’ Brexit message was potent, but if another phenomenon is to transcend single-issue status and become a moral determinant, then Labour must ensure it be the climate crisis. 
A green Labour vision represents an opportunity to build towards pioneering cultural, environmental and electoral change while leaving behind the tired demographic frameworks on which “us versus them” narratives of imperial nationalism thrive. The party now has a chance to give the pillars of green democracy a proper airing: new industries, corporate responsibility, community activism and strong diplomacy. All candidates are likely to champion it, but only with a strong leader in opposition can Labour hope to lay foundations for a politics of radical equality — and power. 
Ravi Ghosh is a freelance journalist.Related... Barry Gardiner Says He Will Not Run To Be Labour Leader Why Labour’s Leadership Steeplechase Has Plenty Of Hurdles Left Yet Labour 'Will Be Reduced To 100 Seat Rump If It Fails To Change Direction', Rachel Reeves Says
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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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