Would Donald Trump build a wall along the Canadian border?

We’ve heard a lot about what a Trump victory tomorrow night means for Mexico, little of which seems good. He’s accused Mexicans of bringing ‘drugs, crime and rapists’ to the US, and the less said about his famous wall, the better. Yet for all the fighting talk aimed at Mexico, it’s not so clear what President Trump would do about America’s neighbours to the north. With Trump and Clinton now almost neck-and-neck in the polls, many Canadians are waking up to the thought of a Trump win. And people in Canada are starting to think – and panic – about how the Donald’s presidency would shape relations. It’s fair to

The Project Fear backtracking isn’t over yet

Another day, another backtracking in the doom-laden predictions of what would happen as a result of a vote for Brexit. Back in May, World Trade Organisation (WTO) chief Roberto Azevedo told the Financial Times that Britain would not simply be allowed to ‘cut and paste’ its terms of membership with the WTO. We would, he suggested, effectively have to negotiate from scratch – a process which could take years, as it did when Liberia joined. Today he has recanted, somewhat. ‘The UK is a member of the WTO today, it will continue to be a member tomorrow,’ he told Sky News. ‘There will be no discontinuity in membership. They have

Low life | 22 September 2016

One side of the hostel overlooked Waterloo station’s 22 platforms. Trains departed and arrived at the rate of two or three a minute. Another side abutted a Victorian cast-iron girder bridge over which suburban trains arrived and departed with rolling thunder, to which was added that fingernails-dragged-down-a-blackboard, pigs-screaming-at-feeding-time, metal-on-metal noise as the trains negotiated a bend whose curve was at the very limit of what was geometrically feasible for fixed, in-line bogies. On the remaining side of this discordant triangle was an arterial road hazy with diesel particulate through which heavy traffic accelerated and braked between traffic lights. I arrived here mid-morning after a Spectator party wanting only to lie

Does Justin Trudeau realise how desperate his China love-in looks?

Whatever the reason behind Obama not getting the red carpet treatment in Hangzhou, there’s one leader who was guaranteed it: ‘Little Potato’. Or, as you might know him, Justin Trudeau. The pronunciation of Trudeau sounds similar to the Mandarin word for potato, and Chinese media’s primary frame of reference for him is through his father Pierre (Big Potato was friendly with China’s communist leadership years before the rest of the West felt ready to engage). Their other reference point is that he is the handsome ‘APEC hottie’, so perhaps Hot Little Potato is more accurate. His predecessor Stephen Harper, who stepped down as an MP last week, would never have

‘I have become their voice’

When the model and actress Anastasia Lin was crowned Miss World Canada last year, a fairly easy and lucrative career lay in front of her: magazine shoots, sponsorship opportunities and being paid to turn up to parties. She instead decided to use her position to confront the Chinese Communist party and call out its human rights abuses. Her new film The Bleeding Edge is a feature-length dramatisation about the organ trade in China. It might not be in a cinema near you soon, but it does screen in the House of Commons next week, in front of MPs and peers. And this is the audience that 26-year-old Lin is seeking.

Red hot

Everything about Julieta feels totally Almodóvarian. It’s a family saga that smoothly blends tragedy and levity, with exquisite performances from a company of passionate actresses. It looks carefully ravishing. Many of the director’s abiding themes are here: terminal illness, sudden death, a mother’s love for her child, men hanging about the fringes. And yet it is based on a most un-Hispanic source. The Julieta of the title was originally Juliet, who features in three interlinked short stories from Runaway, the 2004 collection by Alice Munro. Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature three years ago after a lifetime writing quiet stories that conceal hammer blows. In the originals, the setting

Doctor who?

On 25 July 1865, during a heatwave, Dr James Barry died of dysentery in his London lodgings. A charwoman came in to ‘lay out’ the body. She had known the deceased gentleman: a strange-looking fellow, about five feet tall, slight and stooped and with a large nose and dyed red hair. But nothing had prepared her for what she found when she folded back the bedclothes. Barry’s whole body — ‘the genitals, the deflated breast and the hairless face’ — was unmistakably female. And as if that wasn’t shock enough, the charwoman’s eye was drawn to pronounced striations in the skin of the belly. As a mother of nine, she

The power of music and storytelling

Madeleine Thien’s third novel, recently long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, begins in Vancouver with Marie, who, like the author, is the daughter of Chinese immigrants to Canada. Marie tells us that her father committed suicide in 1989 and that, soon after, the 19-year-old Ai-ming — whose father knew Marie’s father — came to stay, having escaped China in the aftermath of Tiananmen. Ai-ming is drawn to a notebook that has been found among Marie’s father’s surviving paperwork: a handwritten copy of part of a mysterious Book of Records. Marie persuades Ai-ming to tell her the story. Her tale transpires to be not the content of that book, but the

How can we reassure other countries that Brexit isn’t a victory for ‘Little Britain’? Howard Drake has the answer

Reassuring other countries that Brexit doesn’t mean Britain is hauling up the drawbridge is vital for ensuring the UK continues to succeed. So far, much of the foreign coverage of the outcome in the EU referendum has certainly painted the decision as an isolationist move. The German newspaper wochenen summed up that sentiment with its front page at the weekend, which said simply: ‘Well done, little Britain’. So what is being done to offer assurances to other countries that Britain is, in the words of George Osborne this morning, still ‘open for business’? Not a lot if the Foreign Secretary’s appearance on TV at the weekend was anything to

Wise women in wikuoms

In spurts and bursts and flashes, a sublime novelist at work reveals herself. In Annie Proulx’s new novel, there are breath-taking pages and set pieces of extraordinary power. A man on board a ship, as the temperature plummets, sees all those around him embedded in ice before the catastrophe falls on him; a logging run down a river blocks, builds and explodes with the force of missiles; a wall of fire sweeps across a forested wildness. There are individual chapters of great dramatic force, as Proulx’s people confront the possibilities before them and produce their own solutions. But are those flashes enough? Barkskins in the end seems to me a

The wunderkind disappoints – but Cassel may take Best Actor: Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World reviewed

‘This day fucking sucks,’ remark several characters over the course of Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World. It’s hard to argue with them. Recriminations, ugly behaviour and shitty attitudes are par for the course in this dysfunctional family drama. A young, gay playwright named Louis returns home after 12 years to his family to announce that he is dying, probably of AIDS, although that word is never mentioned. His emotional roller coaster of a homecoming lasts a grand total of five hours, as he tries to reconnect with his nervous, oblivious mother, the younger sister whose adolescence he missed and takes heaps of abuse from his brutish older brother.

Trudeau family values

   Quebec City Canada is about to hit a new high. If the supercute 44-year-old prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has his way, marijuana will soon be legally available. Trudeau himself is no pothead. He last had a joint in 2010 at a family dinner party, with his children safely tucked up in bed at their grandmother’s house. Still, it is a typical policy for the Liberal leader — headline-grabbing, progressive, fashionable. To call Trudeau a press darling is an understatement. The man is a global PR sensation. Only this week, he had himself snapped with two panda cubs — ‘Say hello to Jia Panpan & Jia Yueyue,’ he tweeted —

Diary – 25 February 2016

The Prime Minister is pretty angry with Boris. But the idea that they’ve competed with each other since school is wrong. Boris is two years older than Cameron — and differences in age are like dog years when you’re young. When I was 13, 15-year-olds seemed like grown-ups, 6ft tall with three days’ growth. When I interviewed Cameron last year, he said he’d hardly known Boris at Eton because he was in College — the scholars’ house — and two years above him. Cameron did remember Boris on the rugby field because he was so dishevelled and ferocious. And he watched him in a few debates at the Oxford Union.

Flying doctors

A few months ago, paramedics were on the brink of industrial action. They had legitimate grievances. Ambulance services were being run down, their staffing levels were dangerously thin — and the mismanagement (much of it exposed by Mary Wakefield in The Spectator) was horrendous. But in the end they stepped back from the brink — for good reason. It went against their nature to endanger lives, and in addition it would have been a tactical mistake. If a single patient died as a result of the strike, paramedics would have lost public sympathy. Should a nationalised health service really use the unwell as a bargaining chip? English doctors have not

There will be blood | 3 December 2015

It was a stroke of genius to invite Glenda Jackson to make her return to acting as the star of Radio 4’s massive new series of dramas, Blood, Sex and Money, based on the novels of Émile Zola. Jackson plays Dide, the matriarch of the Rougon-Macquart families from Plassans in the depths of southern France. And she’s absolutely brilliant. Her voice is so distinctive, yet at the same time utterly ordinary, so it doesn’t stick out demanding attention but rather draws you in, like a spider weaving its web. Her timing, too, is pitch-perfect, each word given just the right weight for its meaning to be clear, whether making sinister

Barometer | 5 November 2015

Family business Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre Trudeau, was elected to his father’s old job as Prime Minister of Canada. Other descendants of former leaders currently in power: — The maternal grandfather of Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, held the same job between 1957 and 1960. — Park Geun-hye, president of South Korea, is daughter of Park Chung-hee, president between 1963 and 1979. — Benigno Aquino III, president of the Philippines, is son of Corazon Aquino, president between 1986 and 1992. — Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, is daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Prime Minister 1972 to 1975. Safety drive Does the public expect driverless cars to make

Letters | 29 October 2015

We should all be feminists Sir: Articles proclaiming the death of feminism are appearing like clockwork in the press at the moment (‘Bad winners’, 24 October). Each time, it prompts feminists to respond passionately, demonstrating that far from being over, feminism is experiencing a resurgence. Witness the crowds that gathered at the Feminism in London conference at the weekend, or the stats which refuse to budge: the 19 per cent gender pay gap, the 54,000 pregnant women who are discriminated against at work each year, and the two women per week who die at the hands of a partner or former partner. But there is a more serious underlying issue. We

Could Jeremy Corbyn do a Justin Trudeau?

A few months back, Justin Trudeau looked like an unlikely candidate to be Canada’s next prime minister. But Canada’s Liberal Party has now won a majority at the general election, ending nearly a decade of Conservative rule. Back in August when the Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper called an election for 19 October, the social-democratic NDP was first in the polls, the Conservatives good second and the Liberals third. Justin Trudeau’s majority win is a historic feat in Canadian politics, because a third-running party has never before won a majority. So what were the key issues in this election? Not much. The choice seemed to be between wanting ‘more of the same’ or wanting ‘change’,

Capitalism’s true enemies

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”Fraser Nelson and Freddy Gray discuss the future of capitalism” startat=1326] Listen [/audioplayer]Friends of capitalism feared that the events since 2007 — the financial collapses, bailouts, deficits and austerity — would produce a massive swing to the left, but it hasn’t happened. Voters have consistently chosen sensible, middle-of-the-road parties that undertook to steady the ship rather than sail in completely different directions. In reacting to the biggest crisis to engulf the free enterprise system for decades we’ve learnt that the spirit of the anti-capitalists is willing but their flesh is weak — and also that they’re simply aren’t enough of them. They can’t even read the books that

Barometer | 9 July 2015

Naming terror David Cameron and the BBC argued over what to call the terror group most papers refer to as Isis — with the PM preferring Isil and the BBC continuing to call it Islamic State. Two more terror groups whose names caused problems in Britain: — The Red Army Faction was a German terror group which existed between 1970 and 1998, when it declared itself dissolved. Faced with the acronym RAF, British media preferred to call the group by its nickname the Baader-Meinhof Gang. — In the 1970s Italy was terrorised by a group known as the Red Brigades, most notorious for kidnapping and murdering the former prime minister