Sheila McGregor

The roots of child abuse

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Recent sexual abuse scandals have highlighted the vulnerability of children in care and the collusion of the state in covering it up. But, argues Sheila McGregor, child abuse is not the result of human nature or evil people. Its roots lie in the very nature of the family itself.

The recent revelations about Jimmy Savile's predatory sexual behaviour and the accompanying cover-ups by the BBC continue to send shock waves through society. All of a sudden we seem to be being overwhelmed with revelations of men in positions of influence as sexual predators.

No one could fail to be disgusted by the way in which Jimmy Savile was given free rein to follow his sexual agenda inside the BBC and in various children's homes. The cover up by the BBC was equally sickening.

The Iron Lady

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Meryl Streep turns in a brilliant performance as Margaret Thatcher suffering from dementia in this portrait of the Iron Lady. Thatcher's story is narrated in a series of flashbacks with her dead husband, Denis Thatcher, often appearing at her side. She is old, reminiscing in her luxurious residence.

But just as the elderly Thatcher suffers from loss of memory, so this film seems to have lost the thread of history.

However we dress, wherever we go...

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Women's dress keeps hitting the headlines and not because of fashion shows either.

At the beginning of April, the French government decreed that all women had to expose their bodies more as the new law against wearing the veil came into effect. Then a few weeks later, a Toronto policeman was telling students to avoid dressing like a "slut" if they wanted to avoid getting raped. In other words, they should cover up more. And thus the "slut walk" protests were born. In the same week Kenneth Clarke pitched in with the view that some rapes are less serious than others and that men who admit to rape should get reduced sentences.

Piling on the Pounds

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Review of 'Fat Wars', Ellen Ruppel Shell, Atlantic £8.99

Food scares are regular occurrences, from salmonella in eggs and chicken, BSE in beef and foot and mouth disease in sheep to cancer-causing toxins in Scottish salmon. Now it's just eating. In the US obesity is second only to smoking as the greatest public health hazard. In 1983 14 percent of all Americans were obese. Today it's 27 percent and, according to Ellen Ruppel Shell, 'virtually all Americans will be overweight by 2030, and half will be obese'.

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