Melanie McDonagh

Buda baby boomers

Hungary’s natalist policies are both generous and effective

Citizens’ Assemblies let the elite skew public debate

‘A Citizens’ Assembly is a useful way for politicians to unload a toxic issue onto 110 random citizens who will never face an electorate’

An island that has forgotten the art of the backroom deal

‘Since the referendum, the attitude of the Irish government to the result—contemptuous, disbelieving, disrespectful—has grated. Leo Varadkar, a conformist individual, was in office at just the time when a fixer was what was needed’

Unholy Mess

The Vatican misjudged the public mood over Richard Williamson, but secular commentators don't understand the idea of excommunication

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"