Joanna Williams

Joanna Williams

Joanna Williams is a visiting fellow at MCC Budapest

Drake, Raleigh and the irony of ‘inclusivity’ drives

The past has been cancelled at Exeter School in Devon. The names of Elizabethan naval heroes Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake are being erased from their school buildings. For so long central to Britain’s national story, the pair have now been tried and found wanting. Forget their brave exploits: the head teacher Louise

Free breakfasts won’t solve the school truancy crisis

How do you solve a problem like truancy? Lockdowns and school closures may be a distant memory but far too many children are still not regularly attending school. One in five pupils is reported to be ‘persistently’ absent from the classroom, a figure which has barely budged since schools fully reopened in March 2021. It’s

Justice has been served for Rosie Duffield

The year has got off to a good start for Rosie Duffield. Back in November, the MP for Canterbury became the focus of an investigation by the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), following allegations of anti-Semitism and transphobia. Now she has been, in her words, ‘completely exonerated’.  Duffield’s mistake, such as it was, had been to

Why are MPs endorsing Stonewall’s rainbow laces campaign?

Our Members of Parliament are not short of stuff to do. There’s immigration – of the legal and illegal varieties – an economy on life support, post-lockdown problems with education, mental health and getting people back to work, as well as the NHS collapsing under the weight of its own waiting lists. Yet, remarkably, ten

Why won’t the Tories ban pupils from transitioning?

Finally, after months of argument and expectation, media briefings and leaked drafts, it seems the government just might be ready to release its transgender guidance to schools. Possibly. In a few weeks. Word is that this latest iteration asserts the importance of sex over gender. It makes it clear to schools that sports teams, toilets

The negative side of being ‘sex positive’

‘Let’s talk about sex, baby,’ sang female rap duo Salt-N-Pepa back in 1990. More than 30-years later, it can seem as if we talk about little else. Today, we are not just expected to talk frankly about all matters carnal but to be ‘sex positive’. Emma Sayle, the founder of ‘Killing Kittens’ – which organises

The Met’s strange approach to protest

Demonstrations against Israel, some attracting many thousands of people, have become a regular occurrence. We have grown used to the sight of masked protesters draped in Palestinian flags marching in our cities, blocking train stations, and even calling for jihad. The police, meanwhile, seem to be keeping a low profile. Such light-touch policing is not

Why are feminists like me being labelled ‘far right’?

In what would no doubt come as a shock to great feminists like Mary Wollstonecraft, Sylvia Pankhurst and Simone de Beauvoir, arguing for sexual equality today makes you ‘far right’ and a purveyor of ‘hate speech’. Forget Hitler, Mussolini, or even Enoch Powell. According to the London Public Library in Ontario, Canada, it’s people like

Will Ian McEwan ever get over Brexit?

‘Screw the lot of them.’ Ian McEwan’s blunt advice to young authors having to deal with ‘sensitivity readers’ had me punching the air. At last, a bona fide national treasure prepared to take on the performative offence-taking that has Britain’s publishing industry in its censorious grip. Speaking in Paris ahead of the publication of the

Has the NHS forgotten its real purpose?

As doctors down stethoscopes and walk out of hospitals in their ongoing strike for better pay and working conditions, the public might reasonably conclude that the NHS is underfunded. How, then, do we make sense of this week’s revelation that NHS England is set to open three new departments focusing on equality and diversity? Either

How museums lost their way

What’s the point of museums? According to researchers at the University of Leicester, museums should help children explore their gender identity. Academics have issued 44-pages of detailed guidance on how museum directors can tackle ‘growing uncertainty and anxiety surrounding trans-inclusive practice’ while stimulating ‘positive explorations of gender’ for children. The University of Leicester has got

The hypocrisy of Birmingham’s council

Who is to blame for Birmingham City Council’s dire financial situation? The council has long been struggling to pay its bills and effectively declared itself bankrupt yesterday. In a brief statement, a spokesperson for the Labour-run council pointed the finger at ‘equal pay claims’ as the cause of the problem, explaining:  The council is still in

Meghan, Harry and the truth about sexist adverts

Do Harry and Meghan need rescuing from their Montecito mansion? Being part of the royal family and living among California’s elite makes for a rarefied existence. But it appears that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex lack all access to the newspapers, films, television shows or websites that could provide clues about life beyond the

Why was Carla Foster ever sent to prison?

Carla Foster is to be released from prison. Her 28-month sentence for illegally obtaining abortion pills and terminating a pregnancy sparked angry protests from feminists and pro-choice activists when it was handed down last month. Now, following weeks of legal dispute, the Court of Appeal has reduced her sentence to 14 months suspended. Having spent

Spare us from Keir Starmer’s vacuous education pledges

Keir Starmer clearly does not abide by the principle ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. On the contrary, with this week’s announcement of Labour’s plans to overhaul England’s education sector, Starmer has proven that even in the rare instance of something working well, Labour can be relied upon to make it worse. Come the

Why are high street banks teaming up with Stonewall?

Pride month is over but my local bank still has its rainbow-striped window display firmly in place. The LGBTQ+ theme continues inside with rainbow bunting galore. If you’re lucky enough to spot a member of staff, they’ll be wearing a rainbow lanyard and possibly a pronoun badge to boot. Today’s revelation that most high street