Penalty kicks and racist abuse

Marcus Rashford about to score a penalty against Colombia in 2018 (CC Licence Voltmetro)

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka are football heroes who should be celebrated. They have represented their country at the highest level while still in their teens. They now face abuse that is absurd in its ignorance about football, and abhorrent in its expression of racism.

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The national maternity hospital

In a democratic republic, the State should own and directly run the national maternity hospital. It should not cede control over this essential public service to any private body, never mind to a charity associated with the Catholic church, which has an appalling record of human rights abuses and an ethos that opposes reproductive rights for women.

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Eye can see clearly now

After three months with double vision, I was finally discharged from my hospital outpatient visits yesterday. My sight is now functional again, and should be completely restored within weeks. Combining that with getting my first Covid vaccine two weeks ago, I would like to thank the health service staff for their wonderful work in these unprecedented times.

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An open letter to the AHA about Richard Dawkins

I have written the following letter to the American Humanist Association.

Please reconsider your decision to publicly withdraw from Richard Dawkins the Humanist of the Year award that you gave him in 1996. By doing this you are sustaining a pattern in recent years of people unjustly portraying Richard as something of a cartoon villain.

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King Rocker and the myths of the Nightingales

I absolutely loved King Rocker, the surreal and heartwarming documentary about seventies cult punk icon Robert Lloyd. His midlands band the Prefects morphed into the Nightingales, who still perform today after Lloyd’s journey from the verge of pop stardom to working as a postman while living over a Chinese takeaway.

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Why RTE’s ‘blasphemous’ comedy sketch was ethical

In the 1960s Catholic Bishops in Ireland complained about a light-hearted quiz on the Late Late Show, when a woman said that she might not have worn anything on her wedding night. In the 1970s RTE axed the television drama the Spike, after prudes complained that a scene of an art class briefly showed a nude model.

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