There are three types of people, I reckon, when it comes to accents.
The first type is people like me, and probably most of you – people who know they aren’t very good at accents, and so avoid doing them at all costs. We know nothing can be gained from it, so best to just leave it. Someone else can have the embarrassment.
Then there’s the second type of person, like my dad, who are actively bad at accents – worse than the first group – but they think they’re good at them, so they do them all the time. When I say accents, plural, what I really mean is the same blend of Welsh and Jamaican – for some reason – that every single one of their accents ends up slipping into.
And then there’s the third group of people – people who are genuinely good at doing accents, There are very few of these people around, and they tend to mostly keep their talent to themselves, but they do exist.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it turns out, is part of the third group.
Trudeau is currently in the UK to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada becoming a single country. He met with the Queen yesterday, and also visited the University of Edinburgh, where he accepted an honourary degree.
He gave a speech at the graduation of the uni’s School of Social and Political Science students, speaking about his Scottish heritage and how his great grandfather decided to move from Scotland to British Columbia.
He decided the story would be more convincing if he played the part of his ancestor, accent and all, and we have to say, Trudeau pretty much nails it. To stand up in front of a room of people and attempt their accent is a pretty ballsy move, but then again, he is the Prime Minister.
Trudeau told the students:
“Another great Scot, my grandfather, Jimmy Sinclair. He was born in Banffshire and, as family lore had it, his father, my great grandfather, James George Sinclair, who was a local schoolteacher was also a passionate fisherman.
“And, unfortunately, back then there were rules around who can fish in which streams.
“And about the fourth or fifth time the local constable caught him, and threatened to throw him in jail if he caught him once again fishing in the laird’s stream, as family lore has it, my great grandfather says: ‘But if I cannae fish I cannae live!’
“So he went home, unrolled his schoolhouse maps, looked at a big map of Canada, pointed to a spot on the west coast of the country, and says ‘There! British Columbia, where we can be free and no man owns the fish.’”
Trudeau also used the visit to take a swipe at Brexit, saying Britain has become “increasingly inward-looking”.
"There are tremendous opportunities for countries like Canada and Ireland, at a time where perhaps our significant allies and trading partners in the case of both the US and the UK are turning inward or at least turning into a different direction," he said at a press conference with newly-elected Irish PM Leo Varadkar.