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Family

The intimate family supper is key to any child's intellectual and emotional development. (Photo by Keystone View/FPG/Getty Images)

Mr Gove, after-school clubs need to learn from family life

20 April 2014 11:23

In news to warm Michael Gove’s heart, a new survey carried out by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers has found that children as young a four are now routinely… Continue reading

44 Comments
The Spectator, covering 'conscious uncoupling' since 1828.

A short history of ‘conscious uncoupling’

3 April 2014 9:49

There have been some rocky relationships in the news this year. As well as Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s conscious uncoupling, world leaders have also had problems. Vladimir Putin’s divorce… Continue reading

2 Comments
Cinderella in tears, flanked by her two step-sisters. (Image: Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

The state is the worst wicked stepmother of all

31 March 2014 16:22

What a fantastically stupid idea, I thought, reading the paper this morning.  ‘Parents who fail to show love and affection towards their children could be sent to prison for up… Continue reading

66 Comments
Couple talking over drinks

Don’t knock ‘benevolent sexism’ – it makes us happy

25 March 2014 14:00

The American-led Left has a new fixation: ‘benevolent sexism’. Recent examples found here, here and here. According to one definition: ‘Ambivalent or benevolent sexism usually originates in an idealization of… Continue reading

36 Comments
George Osborne needs to develop policies that encourage conservative behaviour - and votes for the Conservatives.

What I want from the Budget: some conservatism

18 March 2014 10:18

Budget day tomorrow, and I’m sure many of you will relish the reminder that you are, in George Osborne’s reported view, ‘successful’ because you pay 40p tax band. It’s better… Continue reading

39 Comments
What would you like to see in this year's Budget?

Melanie McDonagh: What I’d like to see in the Budget

13 March 2014 14:47

Every year, I sit through the Budget, and every year there are great chunks of it that pass right over my and everyone’s head because they’re arcane and fiddly. Fabulous… Continue reading

9 Comments
Mel

A prenup undermines a marriage before it has even begun

25 February 2014 13:00

A friend of mine, quite a distinguished lawyer, takes the view that marriage ceased to make sense after no-fault divorces came in. What, he says sternly, is the point of… Continue reading

37 Comments
Love is in the air. But don't worry: if the feeling fades, divorce has never been cheaper. (JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)

A Valentine Day special – Britain’s cheapest ever divorce

14 February 2014 12:10

You know, when the pope went on in his recent encyclical about how the family ‘is experiencing a profound cultural crisis’ he wasn’t half right. His reflection that ‘the individualism of our… Continue reading

4 Comments
We should not mind that Christmas is about children opening presents because worse things are done in the name of religion. (Picture: Getty)

In praise of consumerism at Christmas

17 December 2013 9:06

It’s about this time of year – the darkest days of winter – when we traditionally get those newspaper articles lamenting the amount we consume over Christmas and how it’s… Continue reading

9 Comments
Soham Trial Nears Conclusion

The forced Caesarean case proves that light must be shone on social services and the courts

3 December 2013 15:03

It’s no joke, having a Caesarean, and I’ve had two. So the news that Essex County Council social services obliged a pregnant, mentally ill Italian woman to have her baby… Continue reading

54 Comments
Someone rid us of that awful slogan!

Someone rid us of the awful slogan: ‘hardworking families’

2 December 2013 16:40

This is a message to any politician out there thinking of using the phrase ‘hardworking families’ or ‘hardworking people’ – I will look for you, I will find you, and… Continue reading

39 Comments
Have permissiveness, pornography, sensationalism and elements of the music industry created a society in which sexual abuse, especially between teenagers, is increasingly common? (DANIEL GUIMARAES/AFP/Getty Images)

Is the permissive society causing pain and harm?

26 November 2013 12:12

It was a curious coincidence, don’t you think, that the sexual conduct findings that the Lancet published today coincided with the publication of a report from the Deputy Children’s Commissioner,… Continue reading

12 Comments
All the policy options on childcare point to getting someone else to mind your children. But what about policies that encourage parents to look after their own children?

Here’s a thought about child care: what about giving parents some choice?

19 November 2013 17:05

George Bernard Shaw made no bones about the merits of schooling: it was, he felt, a way for parents to offload the care of their children onto other people, and… Continue reading

24 Comments
The age of consent is not actually designed to reflect teenagers' sexual habits, but to protect children from exploitation. (PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)

Yes, let’s have a debate about teenage sex and the age of consent

17 November 2013 15:01

Whenever a public figure says ‘we need a debate here’, as Professor John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, has done, it doesn’t need much in the way of… Continue reading

80 Comments
Marriage tax breaks are not aimed at improving the lot of middle class children. They are aimed at those who surrounded by fatherlessness.

Opponents of marriage tax breaks need to ‘check their privilege’

2 October 2013 12:47

What with the flap about Ed Miliband’s dad, the legion of the outraged have forgotten what they were planning to get angry about this week – the marriage tax break,… Continue reading

2 Comments
Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland, which has been longlisted for Booker, was partly inspired by watching her children's relationship.

Interview with a writer: Jhumpa Lahiri, author of Booker longlisted The Lowland

9 September 2013 9:30

The Lowland is the magnificent new novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, which has been longlisted for this year’s Man Booker prize. It tells the story of two brothers, Subhash and Udayan,… Continue reading

2 Comments
Tashlich Ceremony Observed By Jews During Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah reading list

5 September 2013 9:57

Happy New Year! No, it isn’t three months’ early if you’re Jewish, and those of you who aren’t might like to cash in on the celebration. So, in honour of… Continue reading

1 Comment
'In Times of Fading Light' by Eugen Ruge tells the story of one German family's conflicts over the course of 70 years.

Review: In Times of Fading Light by Eugen Ruge – a tale of rebellion and conformity

21 August 2013 15:30

In Times of Fading Light’s seven narrators exist in an almost permanent state of bewildered disappointment. Given that the narrators are various generations of the same family, what we’re shown… Continue reading

0 Comments
Ballistics by DW Wilson is in the great tradition of outwardly macho but inwardly haunting epics, such as The Big Country - William Wyler's 1958 film - featured here.

‘Ballistics’ by D.W.Wilson is a novel about what it really is to be a man

14 August 2013 10:34

Ballistics is the debut novel from D W Wilson. It playfully and interestingly twists and pulls at the heart of what we understand about human relationships. This is rural Canada,… Continue reading

1 Comment
Katie Hopkins judges her children's peers by what they are called. She says that she is the voice of the silent majority.

Katie Hopkins gets her comeuppance

12 August 2013 15:02

Former Apprentice contestant Katie Hopkins, who has become a ‘disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’-style rent-a-quote in middle age, was never going to applaud the appearance of names like Riley, Isla and… Continue reading

11 Comments
Stamp Duty is affecting ordinary house sales in the Midlands and the North, not just the plusher regions of London and the South East.

Stamp Duty is stomping all over Middle England

6 August 2013 13:40

65 per cent of the people buying a home in London in 2012-13 paid the 3 per cent rate of Stamp Duty or more. You can pay that rate on… Continue reading

89 Comments
Roddy Doyle. (Image: Mark Nixon 2013)

Roddy Doyle: I’m a middle class person commenting on working class life

6 August 2013 13:09

Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He first came to prominence with his debut novel The Commitments, which he self-published in Ireland in 1987. The book was then… Continue reading

1 Comment
Twin girls hold twin babies at the second annual twins festival in Beijing. (PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

The odd couples

21 June 2013 10:52

This is the first post in an occasional series about rediscovering old science books. Twins, Lawrence Wright posits, pose a threat to the established order. People have long been scared… Continue reading

2 Comments
849193

The Astronaut Wives Club

20 June 2013 10:25

There I was, slowly and not ungrumpily coming to terms with the fact that there weren’t going to be any more decent books about the Apollo missions. Only 12 men… Continue reading

1 Comment
Reading With Dad

Fathers, sons and the beauty of a “borrowed” book

17 June 2013 18:28

I spent the weekend in Dublin; consequently, I am suffering from what Apthorpe would have called ‘Bechuana tummy’. For the uninitiated, Apthorpe is the premier fool in Men at Arms,… Continue reading

2 Comments