Joan Smith - The Independent

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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Images on Women Who Eat on Tubes are intended to shame

The Facebook group 'Women Who Eat on Tubes' is not high art, it's harassment

Women should be able to use public transport – and eat – without having to worry about weirdos with camera phones

If I couldn't be Fanny, why not Sophonisba?

Traditional British first names are dying out, but what's interesting is the list of those at risk of extinction
Chief constables need to recognise that domestic abuse is a widespread problem

Fed up? Just listen to Stephen Fry's humanist secret of happiness

The actor sums up a non-religious approach to the big questions of life in just three minutes

Reaction to L’Wren Scott’s death took no heed of Mick Jagger’s grief, preferring to paint her as a harridan

Snared a rock star? They're asking for it

Insensitive reporting of the death of L'Wren Scott conforms to a pattern of media coverage of women who ‘get above themselves’

Benn's glowing obituaries prove the left, as well as the right, can be guilty of collective amnesia

Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong

He was wrong about the UK's membership of the EU, with some of his speeches from the 1970s sounding like a precursor of today's Ukip rhetoric

Gita Lama, a long-term nanny employed by Samantha Cameron, arrives for work at Downing Street

The Camerons' nanny isn't the scandal here...

The whole subject of domestic work is beset by prejudices about class, race and gender

PIE controversy: Harriet Harman has got this one wrong

If you are a public figure with left-of-centre politics, it is a question that can’t be avoided: how to deal with the Daily Mail? The paper is hysterically opposed to most things I believe in but it has millions of readers, which is why some kind of “Mail strategy” is essential.

New outlook: Dave Lee Travis, with his wife, after he was acquitted last week

A cultural change we once only dreamt of

The sexist culture of the Sixties and Seventies that has been exposed by high-profile sexual assault cases has become an embarrassment

William Roache is not guilty. Neither is his prosecutor

Reputation is a fragile commodity. If things had turned out differently, it's a safe bet that Nazir Afzal would be reading admiring profiles of himself this weekend. Afzal is the chief crown prosecutor for north-west England and the man who decided to charge the actor, William Roache, with "historic" sex offences. Not so long ago, Afzal was being hailed for his tenacity in going after the British-Asian men who groomed under-age girls for sex in Rochdale; he also secured "guilty" verdicts against the parents of 17-year-old Shafilea Ahmed, who murdered their daughter nine years earlier. Now Afzal stands accused of leading a "celebrity witch-hunt" against elderly actors, DJs and television presenters.

Amanda Knox sits alone before being interviewed on 'Good Morning America'

The Amanda Knox verdict isn't justice for Meredith Kercher. It's a witch-hunt

We have seen the fevered imaginings of a rank species of misogyny

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Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week