Schools are still reeling from lockdown

Parents, remember this time three years ago? In England, we just had been locked down for Christmas, waiting with clenched teeth for the start of the next school term, only for the school gates to be slammed shut for a further two months. Our kids were condemned to another run of aimless, formless days, tended […]

‘This House Would Respect Our Elders’

My speech at the Cambridge Union, 23 November 2023.

The real chaos of the ‘new normal’

“Generation gap” is a term that trips neatly off the tongue, often used to describe banal differences between older and younger people in matters of cultural taste, approaches to work, political opinion, and myriad other features of social life. Just yesterday, The Times added sex to that list, telling us that Gen Z, compared to their elders, […]

The ‘stolen years’: understanding the lockdowns

It’s not surprising lockdown was experienced as an era of loneliness, anxiety and fear. In every arena, freedom, autonomy and social life were restricted in favour of Zoom calls, family bubbles, and vaccine passports. Some say we are seeing a permanent shift in the experience of growing up. But to what extent has Covid given […]

The cult of Plastic Woman

How fantastic is life in plastic? I’m not talking about Barbie here, though of course the film’s defining moment is Gloria’s bitter feminist monologue: “I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us.” I mean the longer-running cult of plasticity, popularised in the 2000s with […]

The rise of baby doomers

As the media cycle lurches from the promotion of one existential crisis to another, demography continues to dominate. In the UK, low birth rates and ageing populations mean we won’t be able to afford healthcare and pensions; we have too many of the “wrong type” of immigrants and too much of the “wrong type” of emigration. Of course, some countries […]

Kvinde, glem din krop

Mette Rodgers interviewed me about feminism and the ‘gender wars’ for the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen:

Did Covid-19 restrictions break British society?

In this Collateral Global Conversation, I talk to Professor David Livermore about the consequences of lockdowns and social distancing restrictions for the fabric of social life. As we move on from the pandemic itself, to what extent have the behaviours and mores of pre-Covid times changed? On one hand, dystopian fears about the end of handshakes, hugs, […]

Feminism has a woman problem

As the gender-identity wars reached fever-pitch, Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury, accused her party of having ‘a woman problem’. Ever since Duffield first tentatively raised her head above the parapet to suggest that the common noun for ‘individuals with a cervix’ is, in fact, ‘women’, she has been subjected to outright hostility and ostracism. The […]

The trans teen trend: a case of social contagion?

I enjoyed taking part in this thoughtful panel debate at the Battle of Ideas, London, back in October. The film, produced by volunteers for the brilliant education charity WORLDwrite, has just come out, at a time when developments in Scotland provide a urgent need for ongoing, open discussion of the many issues involved. Fellow speakers […]

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