Melanie McDonagh

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

What’s the point of The Templeton Prize? After going to last night’s ceremony, I’m not sure

27 May 2016 14:17

The Templeton Prize is known to lots of people from Richard Dawkins’ intemperate denunciation of it in The God Delusion…

What seeing Thomas a Becket’s elbow taught me about the church

25 May 2016 18:06

It’s not every day, you know, you get to see a bit of the elbow of Thomas a Becket. In…

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What was the Queen meant to say about the Chinese officials?

11 May 2016 16:46

A retired diplomat I know had no doubt about where the blame lay for the Queen’s Very Rude episode. ‘Sounds…

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Sadiq Khan’s victory has caused a Great Smug to settle over London

9 May 2016 17:57

London is going through one of its periodic fits of smugness right now, for which the only real parallel is…

Boris Johnson Leads 48Hour Brexit Blitz Of Campaigning

Has Boris finally realised why Turkey shouldn’t join the EU?

18 April 2016 14:44

So good to see Boris Johnson making the obvious case for Brexit, namely that the Turks are at the door.…

David Cameron Addresses University Students Over The EU Referendum

There’s a right way – and a wrong way – to hold a referendum

10 April 2016 11:56

Personally, I love referendums. It’s the notion that the people really can have things their way which is so pleasing,…

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Justin Welby has discovered who his genetic father really was – isn’t uncertainty better?

9 April 2016 8:57

A few things come to mind as a result of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s bombshell revelation that his father was…

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Want to stand up to terrorism? Then keep calm and carry on

24 March 2016 10:50

As I’m sure is the case with many of you, I’ve been giving serious thought to how best to Stand Up To Terrorism,…

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: Getty)

How would Turkey’s EU membership stem the flow of migrants?

9 March 2016 14:47

Stop me if I haven’t got this right. But as I understand it, as a result of the deal that…

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Is anyone surprised that the Queen didn’t approve of gay marriage?

7 March 2016 15:43

Of all the frankly riveting stuff in the Daily Mail’s serial of what it calls ‘The Unknown Queen’ — nicely timed…

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The DfE has issued guidance on exclamation marks. How Orwellian is that!

6 March 2016 18:04

A friend of mine, another journalist, is getting terrifically worked up about the Department for Education’s persecution of exclamation marks.…

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The mystery of Mothering Sunday

5 March 2016 19:00

Among the treats the mothers of Britain can look forward to on Mothering Sunday there are some rum offerings. A…

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A late retirement is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, it should be celebrated

2 March 2016 13:17

Can you think of anyone who isn’t actually better in work than out of it? My mother took early retirement…

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If I were Richard Dawkins, I’d count my blessings

16 February 2016 12:52

It reflects rather well on Richard Dawkins that he still hasn’t joined his followers – the religious connotations of the…

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Facebook’s ‘Motherhood Challenge’ is designed for sad exhibitionists

5 February 2016 17:06

Further proof that social media is fundamentally evil comes by way of Facebook’s Motherhood Challenge. It has been doing the…

Prime Minister David Cameron Announces Free Schools Pledge

State education hypocrites aren’t new, but does Cameron really want to be one?

1 February 2016 13:58

You can expect an oddly muted response to the news that the Camerons may be sending their son Elwen to…

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Britain is losing its religion, but nobody seems that bothered

19 January 2016 16:46

This evening, if you have time and are around central London, there is an interesting lecture at the British Academy…

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This tale about a pastor, a priest and an imam gives me hope

8 January 2016 17:06

Pastor James McConnell is back in business as an Evangelical preacher having been found not guilty on a couple of…

Tyson Fury poses for a photograph ahead of a press conference at the Macron Stadium on November 30, 2015 in Bolton, England

Why Tyson Fury deserves to win Sports Personality of the Year

6 December 2015 18:49

We can all agree, I think, that the notion of a Sports Personality of the Year is something of an…

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Modern media makes the world smaller – and that’s no bad thing

30 November 2015 18:01

It’s not that often you get the low business of journalism put into its proper social and spiritual context but…

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Northern Ireland’s pro-choice lobby couldn’t care less about democracy

30 November 2015 14:08

Well, the High Court in Belfast has driven a coach and horses through Northern Ireland’s abortion law. The Northern Ireland…

A bus of evacuees make their way towards neighboring hospitals at Fillmore Street and Centennial Boulevard on November 27, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Are we being given the full story about the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado?

28 November 2015 9:40

There is someone obviously grotesque about making a pro-life statement by shooting three people dead, as a gunman appears to have…

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Michel Houellebecq’s vision of a France ruled by an Islamist regime is all too plausible

16 November 2015 14:12

No question about the book of the year: it’s Michel Houellebecq’s Submission (Heinemann, £18.99) in Lorin Stein’s fluent translation. It’s…

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The best way to show solidarity with Paris? Visit

14 November 2015 9:03

Well, the nice thing is that Je Suis Parisienne is a bit more chic than Je Suis Charlie when it…

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The brutality of China’s one-child policy is still shocking

31 October 2015 13:48

So, China’s Communist Party has radically modified its one-child policy in favour of a one-or-two-child policy. For most politically minded…