Joan Smith

Known for her human rights activism and writing on subjects such as atheism and feminism, Joan Smith is a columnist, critic and novelist. An Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a regular contributor to BBC radio, she has written five detective novels, two of which have been filmed by the BBC.

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Innocents’ tears: A mother yesterday mourns her son killed by an Israeli tank shell in Gaza

In modern warfare, it's the civilians who suffer most of all

From MH17 to Gaza, there's no distinction between soldiers and non-combatants caught in the crossfire
Harman has said her gender affected her employment

Gordon Brown could have had a woman as deputy PM. He bottled it

When he had the chance to appoint Harriet Harman, his fine words failed to match his actions
Public disgrace: Andy Coulson’s conviction is just the latest case of how power can be perverted

Will the press ever be able to restore public confidence?

The trials of Andy Coulson and Rolf Harris reveal a celebrity-obsessed culture in which we are all complicit
Andy Coulson arrives for sentencing at the Old Bailey court house in London

Andy Coulson has been sentenced, now it's time to implement Leveson’s recommendations

We need a proper independent and effective press regulator that actually works

The 'World in Action' team making a program about the pirate radio ship Caroline, filmed on board in 1967

Jimmy Savile's crimes are rooted in pirate radio

John Peel was allowed to run a 'schoolgirl of the year' competition on his late night show
Andy Coulson, left, has been found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones, while Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie were cleared of all charges

After Coulson, now is the time for robust self-regulation along Leveson lines

A criminal culture at the News of the World has finally been exposed

Two Iraqi girls in a temporary camp near the Kurdish region on Friday

The Iraq invasion was wrong, but this time we must get involved

A keenness to denounce Tony Blair and George Bush is parochial and does nothing to help those in need
One world: The only way we can prevent future scandals is for all state schools to teach all children regardless of faith

Religion is no reason to let the ill-qualified become teachers

The Trojan Horse row shows how state education has become a dog's breakfast of different types of schools
Charles' comments have reignited debate about the British monarchy

Can Prince Charles get laws changed? They won't say

This makes a mockery of the idea that the UK is a democracy based on equal rights
Grieving residents clash with riot police in Soma

Turkish mine explosion: Are 300 lives enough to make Recep Tayyip Erdogan's admirers think again?

Cutting corners in the drive for cheap coal meant last week's disaster was an accident waiting to happen
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Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn