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Meet the anti-woke rising star who has won the hearts of U.K. Tories


On Tuesday of last week, Kemi Badenoch was eliminated from the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party leadership race after the fourth ballot. While Badenoch may be out of the contest, the signs point to an important future in British politics for the 42-year-old MP

“I have no doubt that Kemi Badenoch will make a fine PM one day,” wrote commentator Daniel Hannan on Twitter. 

Boris Johnson, prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party, resigned on July 7 following a scandal-ridden three years of leading the British government, triggering a leadership race. 

Eight candidates, including Badenoch, were officially nominated to replace Johnson as both party leader and prime minister of the world’s fifth-largest economy. Of the eight candidates, four were women, and four were non-white. Kemi Badenoch herself was born Olukemi Olufunto Adegoke in London in 1980, to parents of Nigerian origin. 

Although holding British citizenship at birth, Adegoke spent much of her childhood in Nigeria. She confessed to experiencing the effects of poverty while growing up due to the economic mismanagement of the Nigerian government. She would later spend part of her childhood in the United States before returning to the U.K. at age 16. 

Adegoke would later take the surname Badenoch after marrying her husband.

After graduating from university, Badenoch worked in banking before becoming digital director for The Spectator magazine from 2015 to 2016. 

First elected to the U.K. parliament in the 2017 general election, Badenoch also held a seat in the London Assembly from 2015 to 2017. Badenoch has called her journey to parliament as exemplifying the “British Dream”. 

She said that due to growing up with Nigeria’s “socialist policies” in the 1980s, she joined the Conservatives at age 25, and is considered to be on the party’s right-wing

Badenoch certainly doesn’t espouse the moderate conservatism of former prime minister David Cameron, who led the Conservatives to power in 2010, before stepping down in 2016. 

However, a Financial Times column partially credited the presence of Badenoch and the leadership race’s other non-white contenders to Cameron’s 2005 decision to select more women and non-white candidates to contest parliamentary seats.

“Yet perhaps more important is that they have provided a friendly home for ambitious minority politicians reluctant to present themselves as perpetual victims,” read the column. 

A supporter of Brexit during the 2016 referendum, Badenoch referred to the winning “Yes” vote as, “the greatest ever vote of confidence in the project of the United Kingdom”. 

“The rise of the very talented Kemi Badenoch is truly remarkable,” wrote historian Niall Ferguson on Twitter. “She would be a Tory Obama if she won this. The whole leadership contest is a disaster for the bogus narrative that Brexit was motivated by racism and/or nostalgia for Empire.” 

An outspoken opponent of “wokeness,” Badenoch’s criticisms of Critical Race Theory in 2020 were described by The Guardian as “scathing,” with at-least one government race advisor confessing to having wept after hearing them. 

Promising to be a “fresh face” for the party after entering the 2022 leadership race, Badenoch has a culture warrior’s reputation and lived up to it from her entry until being eliminated. 

Taking out a column in The Times on July 9 after entering the contest, Badenoch called for a “strong, but limited government,” while decrying identity politics as antithetical to British values. 

“We cannot maintain a cohesive nation state with the zero-sum identity politics we see today,” wrote Badenoch. 

In an op-ed published in The Sun on July 11, Badenoch promised to cut funding for “low quality” university degrees if she won the leadership and became PM. 

“Sadly, some universities spend more time indoctrinating social attitudes instead of teaching lifelong skills or how to solve problems,” wrote Badenoch. “Why are we shovelling huge amounts of taxpayer money—currently up to £11 billion a year into student loans—that will never be paid back?”  

The contest revealed just how popular Badenoch is among the party base. Member polls showed Badenoch would win a head-to-head contest against several other candidates among card-carrying members. 

Badenoch lacked enough support among fellow MPs to stay in this particular leadership race, leading to her elimination on July 19. In Conservative leadership elections, only elected MPs can vote for candidates until all but two are eliminated. After that, voting opens up to the party’s general membership to determine the winner. 

Rishi Sunak, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, is one of the two remaining candidates in the race. Born to parents of Indian origin, Sunak would become the first British prime minister from a minority background since Benjamin Disraeli, an ethnic Jew, governed the U.K. as a Conservative from 1874-1880. 

The other remaining candidate is Liz Truss, who would become the U.K.’s third woman to become prime minister after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, both also hailing from the Conservative Party. 

The diverse race has been heralded as a landmark in British politics, and a challenge for the Opposition Labour Party, who have long portrayed themselves as the champions of ethnic minorities in the U.K. The leadership is expected to conclude by September 5. 

Regardless of who wins, pundits expect Badenoch to be given a cabinet posting when a winner is declared, with some already labelling her as the future leader of the Conservative Party. 

Labour has enjoyed a substantial polling lead over the Conservatives since before last Christmas, with much of the blame placed on the scandal-prone Boris Johnson

How a new leader will improve their fortunes remains to be seen, but it is nearly certain that Badenoch will be a name heard far more often going forward. 

‘The UN is a very hostile place’: Israel’s former UN ambassador recalls a ‘shameful’ resolution


The passage of a 2016 UN security council resolution that blasted Israel for building West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements was “shameful” and a dark diplomatic chapter between Israel and the U.S., according to Israel’s former UN ambassador in an interview with The Hub.

“It was the hardest moment in my public service. It was a very challenging moment,” said Danny Danon, about the resolution that passed in December of 2016, while Donald Trump was president-elect and Barack Obama was preparing to leave public office. As he waited to take office, Trump tried to get the resolution withdrawn, while the Obama administration chose to abstain on the vote, allowing the resolution to pass.

“It was a shameful resolution, and also the way it was done. It was done covertly. Instead of telling us about the policy of the U.S., basically, the U.S. walked behind our backs,” said Danon, in a recent interview with The Hub.

“And for me, you know, I’m used to fighting with our adversaries, the Palestinians, the EU, sometimes, but not fighting against the U.S.,” he said.

In his recently published book, In the Lion’s Den: Israel and the World, Danon describes the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of the Obama administration as “cowardly,” and accuses the U.S. of using proxies to get the resolution through. The U.S. abstained on the resolution, but Danon believes they were encouraging other countries, such as Ukraine, to vote in favour of it.

“And I think, for Obama, it was a combination of his desire to show Netanyahu that he had the upper hand before he left, and also, he wanted to cement his legacy. I think it was a mistake,” said Danon.

Until resolution 2334 was passed, the Israeli-U.S. relationship at the UN was mostly positive, Danon writes. Danon was elected as chairman of the UN General Assembly’s Sixth Committee, the first time an Israeli was put in charge of a permanent committee at the General Assembly, and he largely credits the U.S. with making it possible.

As far as the UN itself, Danon doesn’t have much nice to say, although he described it as a “very important institution” that has lost its way in recent decades.

“Unfortunately, what we have seen in the last few decades is that hostile forces kidnap the UN agencies, and it became a platform to supporting non-democratic nations and actually attacking strong democracies like Israel. So, we need to change the UN,” said Danon.

“I found that the UN is a very hostile place for the Israeli ambassador,” he said.

Danon said his strategy to “dilute” the work of countries hostile to Israel at the UN was to energetically bring other issues, like culture and religion, to the table and try to provoke other discussions. He also took other ambassadors on tours of his country, which he said gave them a new perspective on it.

The foreword for Danon’s book was written by former U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley who wrote that she wanted to prioritize Israel at the UN because, with resolution 2334, “America had abandoned Israel at the UN.”

Danon writes glowingly of Donald Trump and his government and it’s clear from his book that the relationship between the two countries drastically improved when Obama left office.

“President Trump’s decisions about pulling out from the Iran deal, moving the embassy, those were very important decisions that we will always be grateful for them,” said Danon, in his interview with The Hub.

Trump quickly turned on Netanyahu after the 2020 U.S. presidential election when Netanyahu congratulated Joe Biden on his electoral victory.

While he has been an ever-present force in the Likud Party for decades, Danon has also been a constant thorn in Netanyahu’s side, running against him in leadership votes and even getting fired as deputy defence minister for criticizing Israel’s strategy in the 2014 Gaza War.

Late last month the Israeli parliament voted to dissolve itself, triggering the country’s fifth election in four years. Israelis will head to the polls on November 1.