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.
19 April 2012 12:00 AM
15 April 2012 12:00 AM
Religious extremists tend not to have a great sense of humour. So I don't imagine that the people who wanted to plaster anti-gay ads on the side of London buses were consciously trying to echo a well-known Monty Python sketch. But some of the phrases used in the campaign – "ex-gay" and "post-gay" – reminded me irresistibly of John Cleese ranting about his "ex-parrot". This is what happens, I'm afraid, when humourless idiots try to be clever at someone else's expense.
12 April 2012 12:00 AM
Two-fifths of lap dancers say that customers are rude or abusive towards them
08 April 2012 12:00 AM
01 April 2012 12:00 AM
Have you heard about the guy who posted a racist message on Twitter? No, I'm not thinking about Liam Stacey, the biology student from South Wales who's in jail – he lost his appeal on Friday – for a series of racist tweets following the collapse of the footballer, Fabrice Muamba. I'm talking about a young man from Manchester who tweeted his response to the 56-day sentence imposed on Stacey by in Swansea.
29 March 2012 12:00 AM
There is a difference between sitting in the public gallery and seeing clips on TV
25 March 2012 12:00 AM
The Maldives is one of the world's upmarket holiday destinations, an archipelago of turquoise lagoons and palm-fringed beaches. Until four years ago, visitors were unwittingly supporting a nasty dictatorship where beatings and torture were routine. Then, in autumn 2008, the dictator, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was turfed out in the country's first democratic elections. The new president was my friend Mohamed Nasheed, a former political prisoner who soon began making a name for himself on the international stage.
21 March 2012 12:00 AM
The sexual revolution, second wave of feminism, and a raft of equality legislation seem to have passed Dennis Waterman by
18 March 2012 12:00 AM
If a novelist were trying to imagine the internal world of a brutal dictator, it seems likely that extravagance, sentimentality and self-pity would emerge as themes.
11 March 2012 12:00 AM
It has become an internet sensation. Celebrities have rushed to offer support. The White House has congratulated the people who made it. Within a couple of days of being posted on YouTube, around 50 million people had watched Kony 2012, a short film about an African rebel leader. And I'm wondering whether I've seen the same video as everyone else, because when I watched it I wanted to throw up.
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