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Melanie McDonagh rssMelanie_McDonagh

Melanie McDonagh is a leaderwriter for the Evening Standard and Spectator contributor. Irish, living in London.

French secular values may not be shared by all of the country's citizens (Photo: Jean-Sebastien/Getty)

French secularism is starting to feel the strain

23 January 2015 12:28

France is to institute something called a National Secularity Day, which will happen on 9th December every year, when French schools will remind pupils how to sing the national anthem,… Continue reading

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Dear David and Barack, Britain and America didn’t defeat the Nazis alone

15 January 2015 12:25

It’s easily done, I know, when you’re trying to convey the beauty of a two-way relationship, to remember that others may have been involved in the events that brought you… Continue reading

62 Comments
Andres Serrano's Piss Christ

The right to offend is nowhere near as important as the right to speak the truth

12 January 2015 8:30

Last week I lost count of the number of times we’ve been told, pace the Charlie Hebdo murders, that we have no right not to be offended, that freedom of speech… Continue reading

109 Comments
(Photo: Leon Neal/Getty)

Why is Stephen Fry’s decision to get married a major news story for the BBC?

6 January 2015 18:28

Why, do you reckon, was Stephen Fry’s decision to marry another man an item in a BBC radio news bulletin earlier today, right up there with the row over Jim… Continue reading

186 Comments
Ched Evans playing for Sheffield United in 2011 (Photo: Ben Hoskins/Getty)

Feeling morally superior? Time to sign an online petition

5 January 2015 15:32

Purely for the purposes of argument, it would be handy if Ched Evans had said sorry for the rape for which he was convicted. He hasn’t, for the simple and… Continue reading

131 Comments
A Syrian refugee with her child (Photo: Yiannis Kourtoglou/AFP/Getty)

The bleak calculation made by the passengers on the Ezadeen

3 January 2015 10:51

Well, thank God they made it. The Ezadeen, formerly a livestock carrier and now adapted for its human cargo of 360 people, has arrived today at Corigliano Calabro near Lecce.… Continue reading

140 Comments
A protesters holds up a drawing of a crossed out mosque during a rally of the 'Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident' (PEGIDA) in Dresden, eastern Germany, on December 22, 2014 (Photo: Kay Nietfeld/Getty)

Germany’s anti-Islamisation sentiment isn’t going to disappear any time soon

29 December 2014 11:58

Consider the odium Ukip attracts from right-thinking pundits – by which I obviously don’t mean right as in conservative – square it, and you’re getting close to the opprobrium that… Continue reading

485 Comments
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Why Frozen is a fabulously irritating film

17 December 2014 17:40

For a film I’ve never seen, I really, really hate Frozen. For those who don’t have children and don’t look into shop windows and don’t buy toys and are oblivious… Continue reading

29 Comments
Patsy Ferran (Jim Hawkins) and Arthur Darvill (Long John Silver) - Photo: Johan Persson

Treasure Island is a boys’ book. There’s no need for a feminist twist

11 December 2014 17:34

When Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island he declared triumphantly that if it wasn’t a winner with boys, then he didn’t know what boys were like. And it was indeed… Continue reading

21 Comments
(Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty)

Tristram Hunt is right: private schools do need to do more for the state sector

27 November 2014 10:35

Please can we give Tristram Hunt a break? I’m right behind him when it comes to getting private schools to share their largesse with the state sector, and I mean,… Continue reading

63 Comments
Image: Getty.

Why we should use the language of Christianity in public discourse

25 November 2014 10:01

There was an interesting exchange last night at the annual lecture for Theos, the think tank that does God. After a speech by the economist Will Hutton which paid tribute… Continue reading

89 Comments
Charlotte Brontë. Image: Getty.

Spectator books of the year: Melanie McDonagh embraces The Essence of the Brontës

23 November 2014 12:00

Muriel Spark wasn’t only one of the great British novelists but a cracking literary critic and a lovely essayist. Her book on Mary Shelley is extraordinarily perceptive; ditto, but more… Continue reading

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Why Paddington is anti-Ukip propaganda

19 November 2014 12:46

Well, I’ve just been to see the new Paddington film – the one Colin Firth bowed out of on account of not feeling up to being the voice of the… Continue reading

30 Comments
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Remembrance Sunday is marvellous; for God-free war commemoration, go to France

9 November 2014 18:18

The most remarkable thing about the ceremony at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday is that it just gets more popular. A ceremony that a generation ago might have been confidently… Continue reading

155 Comments
An explosion rocks the Syrian city of Kobane on October 20, as seen from the Turkey-Syria border (Photo: Getty Images)

Turkey in Europe? Now there’s a migrant backlash waiting to happen

20 October 2014 19:24

Well, I don’t know how José Manuel Barroso came across in the broadcast accounts of his address to Chatham House today but in person the man was geniality itself and… Continue reading

249 Comments
(Photo: Getty)

After the Pope’s Synod-on-family fiasco, let’s judge Catholicism on Catholic terms

19 October 2014 22:29

The Church’s extraordinary Synod on the family hasn’t gone down terribly well with secular pundits. It’s been billed as a failure on the BBC, which declared that gay Catholic groups… Continue reading

210 Comments
(Photo: DPA/Getty)

The horrid, helpful egg-freezing scheme at Facebook and Apple

16 October 2014 13:08

Was the chief operating officer of Facebook, one Sheryl Sandberg, involved, do you reckon, in the company’s exciting invitation to its women employees to freeze their eggs so they can… Continue reading

15 Comments
A drone-operated flag with Albanian nationalist symbols causes a stir at a match in Serbia (Photo: Andre Isakovic, AFP/Getty)

All is fair in football, war and the former Yugoslavia – even Albanian mini-drones

15 October 2014 14:16

The whole notion that sport is, like the EU, an alternative to war, took a bit of a battering at the Euro 2016 qualifier in Belgrade’s Partizan stadium last night. The… Continue reading

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The subversive thrill of Tom and Jerry

4 October 2014 22:49

I can’t wait to watch Tom and Jerry, The Complete Second Volume, on Amazon Prime, to which, as luck would have it, I belong. Obviously I’ve seen the cartoons before – I… Continue reading

53 Comments
(Photo: JM Lopez/AFP/Getty)

Like it or not, Isis are Muslims. Calling them ‘monsters’ lets us off the hook

15 September 2014 9:42

There are various pieties that politicians observe in the wake of some barbarity committed by Islamic fundamentalists and duly David Cameron observed them in his statement yesterday about the murder… Continue reading

198 Comments
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Meet society’s latest ‘victims’: fatties, nerds and geeks

11 September 2014 17:50

Exciting times for those of us who are fatter than we should be. The feeling of being put upon may be, at a stroke, translated into full-on discrimination status if… Continue reading

25 Comments
Prince George Of Cambridge First Birthday

Kate and the Queen come out fighting for the Union

8 September 2014 13:25

Well, what a coup for the No campaign. At least that was my first thought before I found, annoyingly, that it seems to have occurred to every Twitter user too (at… Continue reading

60 Comments
(Photo: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty)

The unions hated Gove because he actually cared about social mobility

7 September 2014 11:40

There’s an interesting interview in The Guardian this weekend with one of the most famous teachers, or ex-teachers, in Britain, Katharine Birbalsingh. You’ll probably know her. She’s the woman with fabulous… Continue reading

164 Comments
Shoppers walk through the streets of Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

To understand the causes of child abuse we need to look at its perpetrators’ backgrounds

27 August 2014 18:19

Day two of the Rotherham scandal—or rather the fallout from the latest report on it—and there’s a marked, obvious change in the coverage of it from the last time the subject… Continue reading

125 Comments
Aid arrives in the Kurdish city of Erbil. Image: Getty

It’s time we contemplated the possibility of a post-conflict Kurdistan

21 August 2014 15:56

There’s a  curious aspect to the debate – or what passes for it – about Britain getting involved in military action against the Islamic State. Isabel Hardman put her finger… Continue reading

29 Comments