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Jenny McCartney

Is this feminism?

This is the Time’s Up Oscars, the first one where the #MeToo movement is a major player, and no one can predict just how the tricky balance between celebration, industry penitence and the host Jimmy Kimmel’s jokes will pan out on 4 March. This being Hollywood, however, already the chief speculation is about the clothes.

Fake sisterhood

I have not trusted a celebrity activist since 2014, when I read the headline ‘Angelina Jolie and William Hague tackle Bosnia war rapes’. They didn’t really tackle Bosnia war rapes — that is still pending — but Hague got to meet Jolie and Jolie got to meet the Queen and collect a damehood for the

Blue pill-pushers

In September last year, official figures showed a startling rise in the number of young British men turning up at A&E with painfully persistent erections. The number of admissions for priapism, to use the medical term, has increased by 51 per cent on the previous decade. Medical experts suggested that the cause was young men

Italians aren’t fascists

 Ravenna Amid relentless propaganda about Italy being in the grip of fascism, Italians go to the polls on Sunday. It will be an attempt to produce their first elected prime minister since 2008, when Silvio Berlusconi won. Since his resignation in 2011, Italy has had four unelected leaders. Italy’s migrant crisis has dominated these elections,

Putin’s gamble

Familiar, depressing images emerge from Ghouta in Syria: rows of tiny white shrouds, children killed in relentless airstrikes, makeshift hospitals, families huddling in basements, empty streets heaped with rubble. ‘People are too afraid to go out to bury their dead,’ said a medic identifying himself only as Dr Mohammed. ‘Even the cemeteries are being targeted.’

Notes on...


‘Don’t sit down too long my duck, you might be doing nothing,’ reads the inscription memorialising Barbara Joan Austin (4 July 1929–21 September 2004). I have no idea who Barbara was, but I often sit on her lonely bench in the middle of Otmoor. Otmoor is an ancient watery landscape just a few miles north-east of