Spending Thanksgiving with Rumpole of the Bailey

Leo McKern transforms into the barrister with personality, magnificent inflection and dry wit

Spending Thanksgiving with Rumpole of the BaileyThanksgiving in Canada is a wonderful, relaxing time. Turkey dinner with family. Football games and baseball playoffs. Listening to music. Catching up on reading. How could you ask for anything better? As it happens, I can add one cherry on top of the proverbial sundae. I was able to go through my DVD collection of…

AUKUS may create as many problems as it solves

The planet is watching as China and the U.S. prepare for all possibilities

AUKUS may create as many problems as it solvesThe hasty new geopolitical alliance of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS) is clearly a change of strategy designed to enhance security in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The alliance envisages the United States and Great Britain providing Australia with the technology to develop nuclear-powered submarines, among other things. The U.S. is…

William of Orange was no charmer but he left a lasting legacy

Inspired the founding of the Orange Order

William of Orange was no charmer but he left a lasting legacyAs the marching season in Northern Ireland rolls around again, William of Orange (1650-1702) comes to mind. The memory of William – or King Billy – inspired the founding of the Orange Order almost a century after his death. Steadfast and stubborn in its championing of Irish Protestant identity, the Order remains committed to maintaining…

Canada-U.K. trade links more important than ever

Brexit can also be an opportunity for members of the Commonwealth to strengthen their trade, social and military ties

Canada-U.K. trade links more important than everBrexit has allowed the United Kingdom to establish an independent trade policy outside the expectations of the European Union. European law and treaties signed by the EU no longer apply to the U.K. Accordingly, the British government signed the Trade Continuity Agreement with Canada. The agreement, which took effect on April 1, maintains the intent…

Is Scotland poised to push forward with separation?

Recent election results provided a comfortable majority for parties committed to a second referendum on Scottish independence

Is Scotland poised to push forward with separation?An early May column took an advance look at the May 6 elections in the United Kingdom. Now that the results are in and the dust has settled, let’s review what actually happened. And of even greater import, let’s consider where things might go from here. There were two topics of particular interest in the…

Building back better through a new Canada-U.K. trade deal

Could lead to a more effective and co-ordinated response to China’s expansionist agenda

Building back better through a new Canada-U.K. trade dealThe phrase “build back better” has drawn ire globally after Western politicians seemingly relished the damaging impact of COVID-19 lockdown policies and the opportunity offered to radically change our economies. Extremist, insensitive and ill-timed policy initiatives from world leaders have effectively destroyed any hope of the general public getting behind measures designed to genuinely improve…

Will the tide turn on Scottish independence after May 6 election?

If Brexit has put wind in Scottish nationalist sails, it has also upped the complexity. Pulling off a successful secession has gotten tougher

Will the tide turn on Scottish independence after May 6 election?May 6 will be an interesting day for anyone following politics in the United Kingdom. Along with various local council votes, there’ll be an election for all 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament and a byelection for the vacant Westminster seat in Hartlepool. The results of the last two will be keenly watched. There’s not…

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown

Queen Elizabeth must juggle her duties with her family responsibilities. But in her case, the stakes are higher and the scrutiny is intense

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crownThe House of Windsor is making headlines around the world for all the wrong reasons. “The Firm,” as Prince Philip is fond of calling the British Royal Family, doesn’t look kindly on bad publicity. Ringing in my ears is a line from William Shakespeare’s play Henry IV: “uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”…

In crisis, radicalism works against balance and progress

Far-left activists and politicians are recruiting and radicalizing in the same way far-right groups did back in the 2008 crash

In crisis, radicalism works against balance and progressCOVID-19 lockdown measures are opening the door to extremists, not just because people are spending more time on the internet at home, but because of the huge impact lockdowns had on the economy and employment. Much like the 2008 stock market crash, which facilitated a substantial rise in far-right extremism, lockdown measures impacted low-wage workers…

The tricky – and often absurd – business of trading with the EU

Since Canada established its agreement with the EU, the EU's nonsensical barriers have stood in the way of businesses trading internationally

The tricky – and often absurd – business of trading with the EUThe United Kingdom is inching closer to the end of its transition period between leaving the European Union and officially dropping its trading relationship with the remaining 27 member states. As of Jan. 1, the U.K. will make its way in the world on its own, trading off the back of entirely new deals already…

Margaret Thatcher and the end of apartheid

The Thatcher-Nelson Mandela relationship is a reflection of how very different people can evolve a respectful, albeit wary, understanding

Margaret Thatcher and the end of apartheidMargaret Thatcher isn’t a name most people associate with the end of South African apartheid. But Thatcher biographer Charles Moore begs to differ. And he devotes a lengthy chapter in his third volume about the former British prime minister to making his case. As Moore tells it, Thatcher’s goal was to convince the white South…

Was Oliver Cromwell the Great Satan?

Some historians argue that the reality is more nuanced than the legend and that he played a significant role in the creation of modern England

Was Oliver Cromwell the Great Satan?When last week’s column referred to Oliver Cromwell as the “Great Satan,” my tongue was in my cheek. But many people do think of him in those terms. So let’s take a look at the man, his works and his historical reputation. Cromwell (1599 to 1658) rose to prominence during the 1640s. Starting as a…

The power life of a medieval heiress

The combination of Isabel de Clare’s inherited wealth and William Marshal’s earned status made for a fortuitous pairing

The power life of a medieval heiressThe teenage Isabel de Clare was a desirable prize in the late 12th century marriage market. As the heiress to substantial lands in Ireland, Wales, England and Normandy, she had much to offer. Both sides of her pedigree contributed to this inheritance. Isabel’s father was Richard de Clare, popularly known as Strongbow. He came from…

More than just a Spectator to world events

The long-running weekly publication offers depth, broad perspective on a variety of issues, and doesn’t shy away from controversy

More than just a Spectator to world eventsThe Spectator is a United Kingdom weekly first published in 1828. This purportedly makes it the longest-running magazine of its kind in the English-speaking world. And while the primary focus is current affairs, the Spectator’s subject matter ranges further than that. There’s lively coverage of books, music, film, TV, food and travel. From time to…

The high cost of ineffective anti-terror measures

When will politicians consider the safety of the people to be more important than avoiding criticism?

The high cost of ineffective anti-terror measuresOn Nov. 29, 2019, two people were fatally stabbed and three injured by convicted terrorist Usman Khan. The attacker was shot dead by the City of London Police, after members of the public restrained him. Khan was convicted in 2012 of planning a terrorist attack. He was released from prison in 2018 after serving six…
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