Melanie McDonagh rssMelanie_McDonagh

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

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The police shouldn’t be expected to clamp down on wolf whistling

28 April 2015 17:32

Every morning on the way to work I pass a group of Polish builders waiting to start work on the new Design Museum. I know, it tells us a great deal… Continue reading

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Children shouldn’t be expected to receive sponsorship for child’s play

24 April 2015 16:38

Can there be anyone curmudgeonly enough to take against Save the Children’s Den Day, a heartwarming event? – actually, make that an entire week, 29 May to 6th June –… Continue reading

11 Comments
Girl power (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/Getty)

The BBC debate confirmed some unhelpful female stereotypes

17 April 2015 12:26

If I were a nicer person, I suppose I’d have been rather more moved by what the Independent called the moment that summed up last night’s leaders debate, the ‘beautiful group hug’… Continue reading

353 Comments
An explosion rocks the Syrian city of Kobane during a reported suicide car bomb attack by the militants of Islamic State (Photo: Gokhan Sahin/Getty)

The moral arguments for confronting Islamic State are increasing by the day

16 April 2015 16:51

It’s not perhaps the first thing you notice in the Labour manifesto, but one interesting commitment by the party is to establish a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom. It may… Continue reading

45 Comments
The Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, where Islamic State fighters have launched an offensive (Photo: Getty)

Don’t expect to hear anything about Islamic State during the election campaign

7 April 2015 15:50

Granted, you don’t really expect foreign policy to feature much in an election campaign – we’re not saints – but it’s still shaming the way that the biggest foreign policy… Continue reading

85 Comments
Ed Miliband Leaves His Home On The First Day Of The General Election

Why is Labour making merit out of not backing an EU referendum?

30 March 2015 12:48

Fair play to Ed Miliband for launching Labour’s business manifesto today in Bloomberg, not perhaps the party’s natural stamping ground, at least not since the prawn cocktail initiative in 1997.… Continue reading

27 Comments
Execution by guillotine in Paris during the French Revolution (Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty)

If British democracy worked, we would have had a referendum on the death penalty

27 March 2015 14:01

Nice to know, isn’t it, that public attitudes are finally catching up with MPs’? It seems, from the Social Attitudes survey, that finally, half a century after parliament suspended the… Continue reading

86 Comments
Stefano Gabbana (L) and Domenico Dolce attend a private dinner celebrating the Victoria and Albert Museum's new exhibition 'The Glamour Of Italian Fashion 1945 - 2014' at Victoria and Albert Museum on April 1, 2014 in London, England.

I’d love to buy Dolce and Gabbana just to spite Elton John

15 March 2015 23:03

Thank God for Dolce and Gabbana. Where other fashion designers play with their image like Mr Benn, the children’s character who adopts a different persona every time he changes his… Continue reading

188 Comments
Ireland's Alexis Tsipras? (Photo: Paul Faith/Getty)

Sinn Féin has begun to think of itself as the 'Irish Syriza'

9 March 2015 12:14

Imagine a party that’s a cross between the SNP, Syriza and Ukip – one that is anti-establishment and combines the self-regard of the plucky outsider with an intermittent lead in the… Continue reading

112 Comments
Rotherham Child Abuse Scandal

‘Difficult girls’ are precisely who the age of consent is supposed to protect

4 March 2015 14:10

There’s a vision of hell tucked away in the serious case review, commissioned by Maggie Blyth, independent chair of the Oxfordshire safeguarding children board. According to its reckoning some 373… Continue reading

330 Comments
Pope Francis waves to faithful and pilgrims as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his weekly audience on February 18, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican.

Is a married clergy on Pope Francis’ agenda? I hope not

1 March 2015 16:30

Pope Francis, is, according to Cardinal Walter Kasper – a Swabian formerly responsible for ecumenism – neither a traditionalist nor a liberal – “both of which categories have become rather… Continue reading

150 Comments
(Photo: Shaun Curry/Getty)

The footprint of Britain’s immigrants – and emigrants – is important

26 February 2015 14:46

Half a million people. That’s quite a lot, isn’t it? I mean, half a million here, half a million there, why, soon you’re talking a million, which is even more… Continue reading

61 Comments
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The Syrian-bound schoolgirls remind us that feminism isn’t for everyone

25 February 2015 17:01

There is much to be said for Rod Liddle’s view that the fuss over the aspiring jihadi brides from the Bethnal Green Academy is getting on for preposterous and we shouldn’t,… Continue reading

141 Comments
Pope Francis says it is OK to smack your children to discipline them — as long as their dignity is maintained (Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty)

The pope is right – smacking your kids is sometimes OK

10 February 2015 13:35

One good thing has come out of the fuss over the pope’s comments about it being ok to smack your children (so long as their dignity is maintained); it has flushed out… Continue reading

355 Comments
(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty)

Do Yazidi slaves count for less than the Jordanian pilot?

6 February 2015 16:06

There was a remarkable report on Channel 4 news last night around a film by Mehran Bozorgnia, which featured an interview with half a dozen young Yazidi women from the Iraqi… Continue reading

54 Comments
The era of GM babies has begun

Even Lord Winston has seemed confused about mitochondrial transfer

4 February 2015 17:01

One expert who sounded off to great effect in the run-up to yesterday’s vote on three parent babies was Robert Winston, IVF supremo and baby maker in chief. He declared… Continue reading

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There’s an ethical debate to be had about ‘three-parent babies’ but nobody seems keen

2 February 2015 16:59

There doesn’t seem much doubt about which way the Commons vote today on ‘three-parent babies’ will go, does there? A combination of dismissive metaphors, characteristically British sentimentalism and morally astigmatic scientists… Continue reading

81 Comments
Final Day Of The Labour Party Conference

Is it just on women’s issues that politicians feel they must deal with the pundits?

30 January 2015 18:42

Bit of a coup for Sarah Vine, Daily Mail columnist (and wife of Michael Gove), don’t you think? Her piece on date rape elicited a trenchant response from Harriet Harman,… Continue reading

192 Comments
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

68 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

133 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