In today’s Diary: Andy Serkis and Nimco Ali on Trump visa ban; Cara Delevigne with Sudanese refugees; Farewell to Alexander Chancellor; Freedom of London for Eddie Redmayne; and Thadie Newton drowns her sorrows 

When we heard that Donald Trump had signed a ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen traveling to the US, The Londoner thought how dull London would be without such people and got out the Smythson to ring a few old friends.
First up is the fiery Somalia-born Nimco Ali, a writer and campaigner. “Unlike Mo Farah, the Queen has not honored me with a knighthood,” says Nimco cheekily. “But she and her government gave us safety and a home.” Ali arrived in the UK as a child refugee. “Today, my birth city is the capital of the self-declared independent state of Somaliland, linked to Somalia historically and therefore on the banned list. I am sure there will be some kind of attempt to exempt some of us because we hold a British passport, but as long as those who look like me are not welcomed, I stand with them.”
Actor Andy Serkis, also known as Gollum and King Kong, is the world’s greatest motion-capture specialist and, aptly, great at capturing emotion. His father was Iraqi. “We find ourselves instead with a childish bully at the helm who has put catastrophic, heinous, and brutal executive orders into place; one presumes to show off how powerful he is,” he says. “Many of my own relatives sought refuge abroad. Thank God the world is finally voicing its rage at the election of this hyper-egotistical narcissist.”

Comedian Omid Djalili, whose parents are from Iran, tweeted: “I can’t wait to congratulate the [La La Land] film-makers in the States when I see them. Oh, hang on.”

Editor supreme Tina Brown, whose mother was part-Iraqi, added: “Cruelty and chaos are a deadly combination. The shame of the treatment of refugees will take decades to expunge.”.


We shall overcome.

Nimco Ali And Andy Serkis Respond To Donald Trump Visa Ban

Now Donald has Cara on his case

Hours after Donald Trump announced his exclusionary plans, model Cara Delevingne posted a picture from a recent trip to Uganda, where she had met with Sudanese refugees through her work with the UN initiative Girl Up.

“When I met Janet, Pauline, Florence, and Ajah, they had just crossed the border into Uganda with their families,” Delevingne wrote on Instagram. “They shared their courageous stories of their journeys fleeing South Sudan and their hopes to continue their education.”  Is this the start of a model revolution?

That’s how you drown your sorrows

Thandie Newton is a woman after The Londoner’s heart.  The actress is back in the spotlight for her role in the TV hit Westworld, and her stunning performance led her to be nominated for a Screen Actor’s Guild award. She failed to take the gong at the ceremony in LA last night—she was beaten by fellow Brit Claire Foy—but took the defeat with a pinch of salt. And a big glug of Taittinger champagne. “How to lose graciously,” she posted on Twitter after the event. Cheers, Thandie.

Trump’s Taliban Dealing Is Already Destabilizing AfricaMuttley’s last laugh on Trump

Legendary Spectator and Oldie Editor Alexander Chancellor, who died on Saturday aged 77, proposed himself as Trump’s assassin in a last, characteristic blast against all that was wrong in the world. Oldie publisher James Pembroke reported his proposition in a letter to Oldie contributors and noted: “He would have been far more successful than The Jackal, charming his way past security guards, who would have been disarmed by his beautiful manners, engaging smile, and Muttley-like laugh.”

Chancellor was every journalist’s dream editor, assembling excellent writers and letting them get on with it. Graham Greene described him as “the best editor I have ever worked for,” and Charles Moore called him “world-class”.

The Spectator was in free-fall when the Chancellor took over as editor in 1975. An ex-Reuters correspondent, he knew nothing about editing print, but his mischievous personality transformed the failing title from busted flush to a funny, cynical must-read, notably pairing Taki’s High Life jet-set antics with Jeffrey Bernard’s Low Life chronicle of vodka-soaked Soho despair.

Chancellor’s final Long Life column on Trump was in last week’s Spectator.


A hair-raising tale from über PR boss Maria Boyle, who has just been named in Luxury Daily’s Women to Watch 2017. Boyle recalls the time her client, colorist Jo Hansford, heard Naomi Campbell was on the way to see her. “A Rolls-Royce pulled up with blacked-out windows. The chauffeur walked around the car, opened the door, picked up a box off the back seat, and brought it in to the salon, with Naomi’s wig in it. Apparently she only wanted her fringe piece to be colored.”

Eddie award, no kidding

Congratulations to Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne! The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them star received the freedom of the City of London on Friday.

The honor was conferred at Guildhall, much to the pleasure of several staff, and is awarded after the recipient is nominated by two members of one of the city’s 110 liveries or by being themselves a member. Freemen are allowed to drive sheep over London Bridge once a year as a celebration of the city’s history as a global center of commerce; it has been awarded to Sir Ian McKellen and Morgan Freeman.

Given that Redmayne won the Outstanding Newcomer prize in the Evening Standard’s 2004 theatre awards for his performance in Edward Albee’s The Goat, is there a precedent for goat-herding instead?


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