January 30, 2020
Sign up now to get The Waugh Zone, our weekday evening politics briefing, by email.Tripping the light fantasticTwas the night before Brexmas, when all through the House
Could Boris Johnson Be The Last PM Of The (Current) United Kingdom?
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
The stockings were hung by the No.10 chimney with care
In hopes that St Boris soon would be there
As MPs clocked off at 5.30pm, after a not exactly action-packed day in the chamber, there was a strange calm at Westminster on Brexmas Eve. Yes, not even the mice (of which there are multitudes) could bother to stir themselves across the House of Commons. It was as if everyone, Leavers and Remainers, humans and rodents, was just taking a breather before Friday’s big party/wake/shrug (delete as appropriate).
Lots of huge Union flags were drawn up the flagpoles in Parliament Square, ready for what look like being low-key celebrations under a bongless Big Ben. A light show, rather than a fireworks display, will illuminate Downing Street and Whitehall, we’re told. It will all be deliberately modest and muted, in a bid to ‘heal’ the nation.
But as much as the PM would love us all to move on from the acrimony and delay of the last three years, the sense of unease in one key part of this disunited kingdom is palpable. With just hours to go before the moment of exit, a new YouGov poll reported the first majority for Scottish independence in years.
Now 51% Yes to 49% No is a wafer-thin margin, though as the EU referendum proved, a win is a win. Supporters of the union will argue that the independence campaign should be miles further ahead, given all the factors in its favour: the SNP has been in power for nearly a decade in Holyrood, it just won a stunning general election result and Boris Johnson is arguably the most loathed PM north of the border in a generation.
It is just one poll, of course. Yet just imagine if support for independence climbs steadily from that 51% in coming years. The real shape of Johnson’s Brexit won’t be known for a few months, and its actual impact won’t arrive until next year. That gives the independence movement what could be the perfect storm as more Scots start to believe that quitting the UK is the best route back to the EU.‌
Johnson’s refusal to allow another referendum - something that is galvanising even floating voters - will also come under huge pressure if the SNP win a fresh mandate in the Holyrood elections next year. The YouGov poll showed Scots don’t want a new referendum this year or next, but do back on in the next five years. Not for nothing is Nicola Sturgeon tomorrow set to unveil the ‘next steps’ on the road to that referendum.
And as London stages its strangely muted celebrations as the clock strikes 11pm, up in Edinburgh campaigners will be holding a candle-lit vigil for the UK’s dying membership of the EU. Some campaigners plan a ‘haunting’ light display in the ponds outside the Scottish parliament building, in honour of SNP MEP (and new MP) Alyn Smith’s Strasbourg speech that urged the EU to ‘keep a light on’ for Scotland.
It’s a reminder that while there’s been plenty of focus was on future links between London and Washington (more today, thanks to Mike Pompeo) and between London and Brussels, it’s the ‘future relationship’ between London and Edinburgh that could prove the thorniest for Boris Johnson during this parliament. Auld Lang Syne, the tune sung so forlornly by MEPs in the European parliament yesterday, is after all written in Scots.Quote Of The Day“An important part of this relationship is reducing the friction..we want to lower every barrier towards the free flow of information, talent, capital - all the things that promote wealth and prosperity.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sounds almost like a Remainer as he backs a new UK-US trade dealThursday Cheat SheetThe PM held crunch talks on HS2 with Grant Shapps and Sajid Javid, in what many expect to be the key decision-making group ahead of a possible cabinet endorsement later next week.
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told the Commons Press Gallery: “The bullying is over. We are not going to tolerate it.” He also suggested he may allow MPs to breastfeed in the chamber.
Tom Tugendhat, the Tory chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee, told HuffPost UK’s Commons People podcast that he wanted ministers to commit to reducing to ‘zero’ Huawei’s share of the UK 5G system.
The Communication Workers Union nominated Rebecca Long-Bailey as the next Labour leader and Angela Rayner as deputy leader. But general secretary Dave Ward didn’t sound too impressed by the race so far and called on all candidates to deliver “more dynamic and innovative campaigns”.
Keir Starmer called on Boris Johnson to give the three million European nationals living in the UK the right to vote, including in general elections.What I’m ReadingHow One Policy Transformed The US Asylum System - LA TimesGot A Tip?Send tips, stories, quotes, pics, plugs or gossip to waugh.zone@huffpost.com. Subscribe To Commons PeopleEach week, the HuffPost UK Politics team unpack the biggest stories from Westminster and beyond. Search for Commons People wherever you listen to podcasts and subscribe.
This week, Tom Tugendhat talks to us about Huawei, Brexit, HS2 and Johnsonism. Click HERE to listen to the podcast. For a taster click HERE.Related... Top Tory Urges Boris Johnson To Force Huawei Out Of UK 5 Ways To Look After Yourself If You're Totally Exhausted By Politics 'Put Your Flags Away': Nigel Farage Makes One Final Cringeworthy Scene In Brussels
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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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