Joanna Williams

Joanna Williams

Joanna Williams is a visiting fellow at MCC Budapest

Is ‘woke’ real?

Woke is a strange phenomena, but what does it actually mean? Activists and columnists alike declare that being woke is simply being aware of social injustices and challenging racism and sexism. But if that is the case, where are the out and proud woke warriors? Where are the ‘I’m woke’ pin badges and the ‘Being

Leave Enid Blyton alone

Once again, people are getting their knickers in a twist over Enid Blyton. Such is the capacity for outrage these days, the same accusations are recycled on a biannual basis. This time around it’s The Magic Faraway Tree that’s in the spotlight. For those unfamiliar, this 1943 tale features a fantastical array of plots and

When did traditional masculinity become toxic?

It’s hard for privileged white men to stay relevant in this age of identity politics but a number of fail-safe strategies have begun to emerge. Prince Harry and, to a lesser extent his older brother, have captured the mental health market by publicly discussing their issues. William’s school pal Eddie Redmayne, and pretty much the

EastEnders isn’t the place for a lecture on climate change

Soap operas are cultural punctuation points. Big plot lines unite colleagues, neighbours and distant family members in shared conversation starters. Den and Angie’s Christmas divorce? Brookside’s before-the-watershed lesbian kiss? Tony Blair’s support for the wrongly-imprisoned Deirdre Barlow? I was there for it, along with millions of others. I even got caught up in Rob’s coercive

Is Harry and Meghan’s Time profile a parody?

Of course the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2021. And of course their listing, which makes the publication’s front cover, is accompanied by a lavish citation and photos of the pair put together by Hollywood A-list stylists. Did we really expect anything less? Time truly

Lindsay Hoyle is right to give scruffy MPs a dressing down

MPs are making their way back to Parliament with an order from Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle ringing in their ears. In the post-Zoom world, they must smarten up their appearance. ‘Members are expected to wear business attire in and around the Chamber,’ Hoyle reminded them.  ‘Jeans, chinos, sportswear or any other casual trousers are not

Harry and Meghan’s glib Afghan statement

Finally, some news to cheer us all up on this grim, relentless August. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been rendered ‘speechless’ by the news from Afghanistan and Haiti. No doubt, there’ll be no more Oprah interviews or birthday messages. And there’ll be no more lectures from Harry on the importance of imagining how

Spare us Prince Harry’s ‘literary memoir’

However you look at it, ‘freedom day’ turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. So thank goodness for Prince Harry who managed to squeeze in some good news to cheer us all up. His formerly-royal highness is to publish his memoirs. It’ll be an ‘intimate and heartfelt’ account no less, written, he

What Meghan Markle can learn from Enid Blyton

The year is 2070 and English Heritage are unveiling their latest Blue Plaque: ‘The Duchess of Sussex, children’s author, lived here 2017 – 2018’. The accompanying online guide praises Meghan for her work promoting inclusion and diversity. I have no idea whether Meghan will one day be rewarded with an iconic plaque for her services

The problem with Prince Harry’s mental health drive

Has Prince Harry ever had a thought and not made it public? Are there feelings or emotions he has experienced but kept to himself? The latest episode of The Me You Can’t See, the Duke’s documentary series exploring mental health and emotional well-being, aired this week. Loyal viewers were rewarded with a bonus ‘town hall

School playgrounds are no place for ‘free Palestine’ protests

GCSE and A level assessments. Enforcing social distancing. Catch-up provision for pupils who fell behind during lockdown. Mental health support. Behavioural issues. Headteachers have more than enough to worry about right now. The conflict between Israel and Palestine? This one, at least, can be filed under ‘beyond my pay grade’. Or perhaps not. Should pupils

Gender neutrality and the war on women’s literature

Education has become embroiled in a culture war and rather than extricating itself politely, it just keeps digging. What gets taught has long been subject to debate: move beyond the basics and you rapidly head into dangerous terrain (although, look hard enough, and you will find those prepared to argue that even maths and spelling

America, Britain and two very different realities on race

‘If people in Wales had access to as much media coverage of decisions that affected Wales as they do of US domestic news we’d have a better election campaign.’ This statement, tweeted by Welsh government minister Lee Waters shortly after 10 p.m. on Tuesday evening, just as the verdict in the George Floyd murder trial

Harry and Meghan have played a blinder

If bouquets and Bollinger were winging their way to Montecito last night they were well deserved. When Harry and Meghan met Oprah, the trio turned in the performance of their lives. From dramatic pauses, wiping away tears, hand-holding, Diana-reminiscent eye make-up, the English country garden-style backdrop interspersed with scenes from the chicken coop and shots

The stage-managed world of Harry and Meghan

Congratulations Meghan and Harry! Another baby. How lovely! You both look so happy and relaxed: all bare-foot, belly-cradling, fondly-gazing into each other’s eyes. It’s just adorable to hear that Archie can’t wait to become a big brother. And that the Queen and Prince Philip are delighted by the news of their tenth great grandchild; or

Prince Harry should dial down his eco-alarmism

‘What if every single one of us was a raindrop?’  I have no idea what goes into the Californian drinking water, but the Duke formerly known as Prince Harry seems to have been knocking it back. We are fortunate indeed that, despite having fled State-side to secure greater privacy, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Don’t censor the anti-vaxxers

Pfizer has come up trumps. Now that a vaccine for Covid-19 is more than just a possibility, we can breathe a collective sigh of relief. But before we relax too much, a new problem arises: will people actually take it? A third of people in the UK – and half of people in the United

Where have all the male teachers gone?

Should it matter whether a teacher is male or female? Research out on Monday from the Education Policy Institute shows that teaching is becoming an overwhelmingly female-dominated profession. Men are far less likely than women to become teachers in the first place and those that do take the plunge are much more likely to quit