Fuming with anger: on Irish political cowardice

I have just watched the video attached to this Guardian article about the increase in Irish women seeking help for abortions abroad, and I am beyond myself with anger, frustration and disbelief. I know that this is what happens in Ireland; I know that it’s inhumane and barbaric yet allowed to go on, but sometimes I forget. Sometimes I forget, and then an article like this comes along and I feel like taking the next ferry over to Dublin and knock on the door of every Fine Gael and Labour TD and tell them about Oliver and show them that there is no sense, no reason, no high-held religious principle that can justify what goes on. I want every woman and every couple to have the right to free abortion with no questions asked, and I know that...

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The token woman and the panel show

Four episodes of this season’s BBC1 panel show Would I Lie To You have been broadcast so far, and they all had one thing in common: a token woman. Please forgive me. I don’t mean to underestimate the value these female guests bring to the show, or suggest that they don’t have what it takes to join forces with the regulars who take up a majority of the panel show air time available today (and there’s plenty). In fact, I’ve avoided writing about this simply not to do that, not to make them into a token, a gender and a box ticked. Until I read Elin Grelsson’s column on the topic, that is. Grelsson writes about the artist Marie Capaldis, whose paintings were displayed at the Gothenburg museum of art alongside a sign explaining that...

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How the predictable can be sad

Who would have thought that some sympathy would cause so much agitation? When Amy Winehouse died on Saturday, we didn’t just lose one of the greatest singers of our time. Her parents lost a daughter, many lost a friend. Yet, most of Amy’s obituaries, along with endless angry tweets and facebook updates, were preoccupied by pondering the apparently surprising scenario that her death left thousands if not millions of people shocked, sad, almost speechless. Amy’s destructive lifestyle had been well-documented by the media: we shouldn’t be surprised, so we shouldn’t be sad. As if the death of a young person could ever really be comprehensibly predictable, because of addictions or depressions or self harm or long lists of tablets you...

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What the royal wedding taught us

1. You are what you wear – if you’re a woman If I hear one more fashion editor’s orgasmic praise of the stupidly expensive creation of some ‘it’ designer of the moment, or see another picture of a ridiculous headpiece that does nothing but hinder its owner from entering a building with normal doors (as if that would ever happen on the day of a royal wedding), I think I might throw up. Seriously. The stupidity of one commentator’s outbursts fades in comparison to another’s, and the scrutiny of the bodies and dress senses of the women who were invited to today’s big event seemed endless. Was anyone betting like crazy on what colour suit Prince Charles would wear or what stylist would get the honour of doing Harry’s hair...

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