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The return of walls

What kind of a president would build a wall to keep out families dreaming of a better life? It’s a question that has been asked world over, especially after the outrage last week over migrant children at the American border. Donald Trump’s argument, one which his supporters agree with, is that the need to split

Angela’s ashes

‘This is not about whether Mrs Merkel stays as chancellor next week or not,’ said Xavier Bettel, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, as he came out of an emergency summit on immigration last weekend. He was joking. That was exactly what the meeting had been about, and everybody there knew it. The summit was Operation

Dr Spacelove

Americans traumatised by their current president could be forgiven for thinking that his demand for a ‘space force’ was about protecting the country from aliens. Aliens, that is, of extraterrestrial persuasion, not the ones currently hurling themselves against the southern border. What, really, is implausible these days? As baseball savant Yogi Berra said when told

A cry for help

There is an au pair drought in the UK. Since the 2016 Referendum there has been a 75 per cent drop in applications by foreign girls to work for UK families. Agencies testify that they can’t find girls for their clients, who must turn to other forms of childcare beyond the rare girl keen to

The road less travelled

I have never been an adventurous soul. As an infant in Belfast, I would lie motionless for hours on the kitchen table of our family home, devoid of any curiosity to wander. On one occasion an anxious neighbour, having spied my immobile pose through a window, knocked on the front door to express her concern.

The Fifa paradox

In 1930, Jules Rimet, the creator of the Football World Cup, crossed the Atlantic in a steamship to attend the inaugural competition in Uruguay. In his bag he carried a small trophy, the World Cup; in his heart he carried the belief that the World Cup could unite nations and smooth nationalism. ‘Men will be

Notes on...

Feminist children’s books

A friend of mine who commissions book reviews has added a sub-category to the list of titles coming up: ‘femtrend’, books about the female condition from a feminist perspective. ‘Grit lit is over,’ she says wearily, referring to edgy books about the marginalised. ‘Now publishers can’t get enough of the feminist trend about women who