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Melanie McDonagh rssMelanie_McDonagh

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

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

241 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

207 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
geek

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
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

334 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

49 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

31 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

23 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

49 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