Melanie McDonagh rssMelanie_McDonagh

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

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

89 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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