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A clear and important voice in British journalism Carol Ann Duffy
nomination for Orwell prize Orwell prize list

Christina Patterson is a writer, broadcaster and columnist. She writes about politics, society, culture, travel, books and the arts. She has interviewed writers and artists ranging from Martin Amis and Eddie Izzard (who were both polite) to Werner Herzog (who wasn’t). She did the first interview after he left office with Gordon Brown, spending a day with him in his freezing constituency, in a thin summer dress. She has been described by Clive James as “a wonderful, gutsy” writer, and by Andrew Motion as “one of the best columnists around”.

After terrible experiences of nursing, she has tried to do what she can to make things better. She did a special report on nursing in The Independent, has made programmes about it for Radio 4, and presented a film about it for The One Show. A regular commentator on radio and TV news and cultural programmes, she has written for The Independent, The Observer, Time, The Spectator, the New Statesman, the TLS, the Literary Review, High Life and The Huffington Post and now writes mostly for the Guardian and The Sunday Times. She has contributed to books on literature, poetry and healthcare, and is currently writing a relatively cheerful memoir about cancer, madness and God.

Independent Thinking

Maria Miller and The Canterbury Tales

5th April 2014

When the MPs’ expenses scandal broke, I actually leapt to their defence. Sure, there were some snouts in troughs. Sure, all that stuff about duck houses seemed – but turned out not to be – beyond parody. Did MPs really need to claim for bath plugs? Couldn’t they buy a packet of biscuits and not claim it back? But when the reports went on and on and on and on, I decided to speak – on Sky News and in a column – in their defence.

I can’t find that column now, so I’ve no idea what arguments I used. But one thing I do know, from the ones I’ve met and spent some time with, is that most MPs work pretty damn hard. Yes, they earn more than two and a half times the national average

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