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Melanie McDonagh rssMelanie_McDonagh

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

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

124 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
David Beckham leaves the field. Photo:  ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images

Tattoos are sad and stupid – we should discriminate against people with them

20 August 2014 15:31

It’s not often you can blame Samantha Cameron, Sandra Howard and Cheryl Cole for a social trend that blights the job prospects of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of men and women,… Continue reading

328 Comments
Villiers

Richard Dawkins doesn’t get it: religion is rational

15 August 2014 15:06

Where to start with Prof Dawkins’ latest observations about religion and fundamentalism? In response to questions from an audience in Edinburgh where he was promoting his autobiography this week he… Continue reading

300 Comments
Pubs And Clubs in England and Wales Prepare For New Licensing Laws

Forget warnings and labels. Make problem drinkers pay for their excess

11 August 2014 13:26

It was news to me that there exists an All Party Commons Committee on Alcohol Misuse, but when you think about it, the notion makes complete sense; for evidence, all… Continue reading

48 Comments
IRAQ-UNREST-YAZIDIS

Thank God we’re intervening in Iraq again

8 August 2014 8:45

Yesterday, I had a succession of texts from one of the priests in my local parish, Mgr Nizar, who heads the Iraqi Catholic church in London, asking, with increasing urgency,… Continue reading

83 Comments
FRANCE-MATERNITY-DELIVERY

The Down’s syndrome surrogacy story is horrible. But Britain has no right to sneer

4 August 2014 20:15

To look on the heartwarming side, Australians have shown that they are rather more humane as a nation than the anonymous couple in the news for allegedly discarding one of… Continue reading

30 Comments
Final Preparations Are Underway For The Glorious Twelfth

Next to the great halal scandal, grouse is small beer. But which has M&S banned?

31 July 2014 10:30

Last year I got my grouse at M&S. The birds, I mean. There’s a little fresh meat section in the Kensington branch round the corner from me at work, and… Continue reading

75 Comments
DNA Testing

The three parent technique is genetic modification. Will parliament confront this?

29 July 2014 16:19

If I were choosing a third parent for a baby, you know, I’d be inclined to choose one of the Williams sisters — the top-notch tennis players. If you want… Continue reading

22 Comments
Image: Getty

Is it time for ‘nose-peg Toryism’?

24 July 2014 16:24

Before the election in 2005, the magnificently grand Polly Toynbee made a generous offer to Guardian readers reluctant to vote for Tony Blair after Iraq. ‘There is much to be… Continue reading

50 Comments
dig

We’re more likely to get assisted suicide with a Labour government

20 July 2014 13:36

A doctor friend told me the other day that when he was taking a patient through her care programme plan – it’s now required for elderly and terminally ill patients… Continue reading

47 Comments
Gilbert and George have not engaged in equal-opportunity blasphemy.  Not by a long shot. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Gilbert and George have lost their bottom over the burka

17 July 2014 12:52

Let’s brood, shall we, on the following report in the Evening Standard about an exciting new departure by the winsome duo, Gilbert and George, on the back of their new… Continue reading

15 Comments
Image: Getty

There aren’t enough normal people in Cabinet – male or female

13 July 2014 14:02

Well, it’s looking good for Esther, Liz and Priti, isn’t it? The one handle most of us have by now got on the reshuffle is that it’s one for the… Continue reading

61 Comments
George Carey. Image: Getty

George Carey’s thoughtless contribution to the ‘assisted dying’ debate

12 July 2014 13:15

Well, I think nobody really assumed that George Carey was the brightest button on the bench of bishops but the old bumbler has still managed to put a rocket into… Continue reading

54 Comments
card

If you want social mobility, teach kids at the bottom end to write thank you letters

11 July 2014 11:34

Last week’s readers tea party at The Spectator was a delight. You always suppose that the people you’re writing for are interested, intelligent and nice….and there you go: they are.… Continue reading

19 Comments
Soham Trial Nears Conclusion

How should we describe ‘assisted dying’?

7 July 2014 15:40

There is, I realise, no perfect, neutral way of describing ‘assisted dying’, the substance of Lord Falconer’s bill which comes up for its second reading on 18th July. ‘Right to… Continue reading

61 Comments
Question Time Underway In Canberra

Tony Abbott fights the good fight for aborigines’ rights

27 June 2014 9:54

The status of aborigines in Australia has, to be frank, hardly crossed my radar until now. But that was before I met Tanya Hosch, a representative of the community who’s… Continue reading

12 Comments
Peter Robinson - serving at the pleasure of Her Majesty. (PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

Political euphemism, Ulster-style

23 June 2014 15:38

There was such a cherishable quote from DUP leader Peter Robinson on the occasion of the Queen’s visit to his old stamping ground, Coleraine Prison, I feel it shouldn’t go… Continue reading

2 Comments
John Liu, scourge of car alarms in New York City.

Car alarms are anti-social and should be banned

20 June 2014 9:12

4.06 am, that’s what it was when I was woken up. Last time this week I think it was a bit after three. And by the same bloody car alarm. The… Continue reading

43 Comments
SYRIA-CONFLICT-ALEPPO

We need to know much more about ISIS’s ‘British’ jihadists

19 June 2014 13:15

The social media exchanges of British jihadis in Syria and Iraq, as just revealed, are perfectly riveting, don’t you think? Fancy worrying about things like where to leave your luggage… Continue reading

111 Comments
p12-NHS-inside

DNR notices: A matter of life and death

18 June 2014 13:51

It was Janet Tracey’s family who brought about a change in the law regarding Do Not Resuscitate notices on patient’s notes in hospital. Thanks to their efforts, hospitals will now… Continue reading

16 Comments
Mark Bonney, Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral, holds the cathedral's copy of Magna Carta. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

‘Britishness’ debate: can you do Magna Carta without also doing God?

17 June 2014 16:02

Was anyone terribly surprised by the Social Attitudes Survey published today suggesting that most people thought that, in order to be British, you should be able to speak English? Some… Continue reading

46 Comments
Concern Grows Over Trojan Horse Inquiry At Birmingham Schools

Britain needs ‘Church schools’ and ‘faith schools’

10 June 2014 17:52

Following Freddy Gray’s piece yesterday about the pundits’ efforts to exploit the ‘Trojan Horse’ affair in order discredit ‘faith’ schools, I thought you might be interested in the statement below,… Continue reading

263 Comments
Peter Robinson deserves applause for his stance on religious expression. AFP PHOTO / POOL / WILL OLIVER

Let Evangelical Protestants be Evangelical Protestants

29 May 2014 10:07

Pastor James McConnell of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in Belfast has gone and done it. He declared in a sermon that: “Islam is heathen, Islam is satanic, Islam is a doctrine… Continue reading

71 Comments
BRITAIN-ATTACKS-TRIAL-FARRIGHT

Racism is on the rise, apparently. What do we mean by ‘racism’?

28 May 2014 18:12

Well, how worried should we be about racism? The British Social Attitudes Survey says 3 in 10 Brits describe themselves as “a little “ or “a lot” prejudiced against people… Continue reading

286 Comments