Maria miller

Letters | 4 February 2016

Leave those kids alone Sir: Melanie Phillips was right to raise serious concerns about the emerging practice of challenging children to define their gender identity (‘In defence of gender’, 30 January). She quoted justice minister Caroline Dinenage as saying that the government was ‘very much on a journey’ on this issue. The government should therefore give children space and time to follow their own ‘journey’ of self-discovery and discovery of the world without pressure from above to choose labels to define their own sexuality. They have enough pressure of this kind from their peers. The tried and tested way for society to help children along this journey has been to

Socrates on Maria Miller

Our former culture secretary, Maria Miller, is still apparently baffled at the fuss created by her fighting to the last to prevent her expenses being examined. It was a mere ‘legalistic’ transgression; that’s what MPs do. So that’s OK, then. Socrates once discussed with the young Euthydemus the question of going into politics. Euthydemus’ assumptions about what it entailed were all too simple, which led Socrates into discussing the importance of examining oneself. ‘Isn’t it obvious,’ said Socrates, ‘that people are successful, when they know themselves, and failures, when they do not? Those who know themselves know what suits them best, because they can distinguish between what they can and

Charles Moore

The Spectator’s Notes: In defence of Maria Miller

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”James Forsyth and Isabel Hardman discuss Maria Miller’s resignation” startat=1057] Listen [/audioplayer]Maria Miller’s forced resignation is a disgrace. No iniquity was proved against her. Over her expenses, I suspect her motive was innocent: she was trying to work out childcare with her parents in a way compatible with the weird rules, rather than plotting larceny. The parliamentary committee probably understood the circumstances fairly. The press anger was confected because of our (justified) dislike of the post-Leveson Royal Charter. We keep complaining that MPs are ‘marking their own homework’, forgetting that this is exactly what we have done ourselves — incredibly indulgently — for all these years, whenever people have complained

Portrait of the week | 10 April 2014

Home Maria Miller resigned as Culture Secretary after a week of being the centre of a game of hunt-the-issue. She had paid back expenses, but only the £5,800 requested by the Commons standards committee, not the £45,000 suggested by the parliamentary commissioner for standards; she had apologised in the Commons, but her apology lasted only 32 seconds; her special advisers were accused of putting pressure on the Daily Telegraph not to report on her expenses embarrassment because she had power over newspaper regulation; the chairman of the 1922 Committee called the scandal ‘toxic’. Mrs Miller told her constituents: ‘I am devastated.’ Teesside Crown Court heard that John Darwin, who faked

Steerpike: The Lib Dems’ free school fight, Dignitas on Scotland, and more

Some politicians don’t read their own manifestos. And some don’t even read the names of their own parties. When it comes to academy schools, the Lib Dems are struggling to comprehend ‘liberal’ and ‘democratic’. A Suffolk school earmarked for closure was rescued by campaigning parents who invited a commercial operator — International English Schools UK — to take over its administration. Rather than celebrate, Nick Clegg was hopping mad. He apparently regards the profit-making IES as blasphemers against his ideology. A few months ago IES leafleted homes in Twickenham and Teddington offering ‘a new choice of education from September 2014 when IES welcomes the first pupils to a brand new

The arts, the Ancient Greeks and Maria Miller

The Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, has said the arts world must make the case for public funding by focusing on its economic, not artistic, value; it must ‘hammer home the value of culture to our economy’. The ancients would have wondered what she was taking about. There was no concept of ‘the arts’ in the ancient world; nor any concept of ‘art’, at least among the Greeks. What we call ‘art’ was, in Aristotle’s definition, ‘the trained ability to make something under the guidance of rational thought’. It was, in other words, craftsmanship. So ‘artists’ were regarded rather as we would regard car mechanics or dentists. The only time the