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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May has used her powers as Home Secretary to strip 20 dual nationality individuals of their passports
Feeling the heat: David Cameron last week in Lanzarote

The parable of the PM and the jellyfish

Maybe that sting in the warm waters off Lanzarote was God’s way of telling Cameron that religion and politics don’t mix

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

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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there