Decca Aitkenhead

From Who Comments? - the encyclopedia of comment & opinion
Jump to: navigation, search

Profile: Timeline

225Replace this image person.png

Full name: Jessica Aitkenhead

Area of interest: Social issues; family and relationships; gender issues

Journals/Organisation: The Guardian

Email: decca

Personal website:

Website: / Decca Aitkenhead

Blog: Comment is free...

Agent: Aitken Alexander Associates




Education: University of Manchester: Politics

Career: Began at The Independent On Sunday in 1995; has written comment and features pieces and interviews for The Guardian since 1997, as well as contributions to the Mail On Sunday and Evening Standard and New Statesman

Current position/role: Journalist and author

also writes/has written for:

Other roles/Main role:

Other activities:



Broadcast media: Occasional contributor to BBC Radio 4 and 5 programmes and has been a guest on BBC TV's Question Time


Awards/Honours: Interviewer of the year, 2009 British Press Awards



Books & Debate:

Decca Aitkenhead The Promised Land.jpg
  • The promised land: travels in search of the perfect E OCLC 48066309 , 2002

Latest work:



The Guardian:

Column name:

Remit/Info: family and relationships; gender issues


Role: Commentator, Interviewer


Email: decca

Website: / Decca Aitkenhead

Commissioning editor:

Day published: usually Thursday

Regularity: Not consecutive

Column format:

Average length:


  • A cricket trip to Jamaica by British MPs pays big dividends - Sneering at our MPs has become such fun we're in danger of forgetting the good they can do when they get out into the world - 25th February 2013
  • Ian Huntley deserves nothing, but he's right to sue - The armed robber who slit the Soham killer's throat was abiding by the moral code of prisoners. We mustn't do the same - 3rd August 2010
  • What is the right way to raise children? - Ray Lewis is a former prison governor who thinks zero tolerance is the best answer for wayward youths. Camila Batmanghelidjh is a psychotherapist who believes love and infinite patience is the key to raising well-balanced children. Decca Aitkenhead visits two very different youth centres to find out what works - 11th April 2009
  • Students have been sold a lie - The idea that old and new universities offer the same educational experience is absurd - 31st January 2009
  • 2008: The year in review - From the election of Barack Obama to economic meltdown, from the Beijing Olympics to the Baby P trial, Decca Aitkenhead recalls the year's best and worst times - 27th December 2008
  • Stuck on the party line - Interview: She is the northern, state-educated Tory poster girl who is fighting Heathrow's third runway. So why does a conversation with Justine Greening feel more like an exam? - 22nd November 2008
  • ‘People say I'm strident’ - He sold 1.5m copies of The God Delusion, and this week stumped up £5,500 for atheist adverts. So why does Richard Dawkins think science is losing its war with religion? - 25th October 2008
  • Free agent - Former MI5 chief and spy novelist Stella Rimington speaks her mind - on Iraq, the 'huge overreaction' to 9/11, and why the secret service is much more liberal than we think - 18th October 2008
  • Man about the house - He was the respectable face of reality TV but now Kevin McCloud has designs on a whole Wiltshire town, and refuses to be put off by 'scurrilous and rancid' coverage - 11th October 2008
  • Tribal gatherings - Anyone who thinks all politicians are the same should try spending three successive weeks at their party conferences - 2nd October 2008
  • The making of Mrs Brown - Sarah Brown stole the show at Labour's conference and threw her husband a lifeline - 27th September 2008
  • Buy Gatwick? Why not? - Between trying to break a sailing record, meeting a president and opening a Portuguese gym, Richard Branson put in a bid for an airport this week. He tells Decca Aitkenhead why - 20th September 2008
  • Sex and power and me - The glass ceiling has been concreted over, says a new report on women at work. So why isn't equality chief Nicola Brewer chaining herself to the railings, asks Decca Aitkenhead - 6th September 2008
  • The family croft, a peat fire - and an explosive interview - which aired Alistair Darling's comments on the state of the economy - 1st September 2008
  • Storm warning - From rows over the 10p tax proposals to the fiasco of stamp duty suspension, chancellor Alistair Darling has had a rocky year at Number 11. Decca Aitkenhead joins him at his Scottish holiday retreat to talk reshuffles, recession and the price of eggs - 29th August 2008
  • Now I've got your attention... - Is giving human milk to a calf any more shocking than giving cow's milk to a baby? TV presenter Kate Garraway doesn't think so - 23rd August 2008
  • ‘Rubbish can be great’ - Lorraine Kelly may be the queen of light and frothy morning TV, but her autobiography stresses her tough journalistic credentials. Decca Aitkenhead asks her why she swapped hard news for fashion and gossip - 22nd August 2008
  • Capital charmer - One hundred days ago Boris Johnson pulled off a coup by becoming mayor of London. But did he have any idea what to do with the job? - 9th August 2008
  • ‘I failed to protect the brand... moi’ - Multiple accusations of sexual assault left John Leslie with no career and a reputation in ruins. Until now he's stayed silent. But here, for the first time, he tells all - 9th August 2008
  • Mud, sweat and tears - She was a feminist pioneer, then a Fleet Street editor. Now she's an organic farmer and 'desperate' to work for Boris Johnson. Just who is Rosie Boycott - 19th July 2008
  • Estate of play - His own family make the Gallaghers in Shameless look like the Brady Bunch. So how did Paul Abbott escape all that to become the most sought-after writer in British TV? And did he really go to a hypnotist to stop himself having so many ideas? Decca Aitkenhead finds out - 12th July 2008
  • Band of brothers - His peers dominate the limelight, but Ed Miliband insists the next election is 'winnable' and rumours of crisis are 'rubbish'. So could he save Labour? - 12th July 2008
  • Taking liberties - As home secretary, he bragged about giving 'tougher and longer' prison sentences to offenders. Now, David Blunkett says that he never believed locking people up was effective. Can his new TV show find a better solution? - 7th July 2008
  • ‘I was never about boo hoo hoo’ - Dave Pelzer, who single-handedly launched the 'misery lit' genre with his horrific memoir of childhood abuse, is now publishing his fourth self-help book. In it, he insists that happiness is all about 'moving on'. So why does he continue to obsessively trawl through his own past? - 26th June 2008
  • Mr Paparazzi, I presume - Darryn Lyons has spent his raucous life catching famous people off guard. Do privacy laws mean his industry is finally facing the wall? No way, he tells Decca Aitkenhead - 7th June 2008
  • ‘Life in prison? Bring it on’ - Plane Stupid's 'Westminster Five' say their Commons protest put Heathrow's third runway in doubt - 31st May 2008
  • Prezza on the couch - He sees himself as a straight, no-nonsense kind of bloke. But his memoirs reveal that his years in power were blighted by bulimia, social phobias and an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. So just who is John Prescott? Decca Aitkenhead delves into one man's tangled psyche - 26th May 2008
  • A family business - Isabel Fonseca's first book was non-fiction - and an international bestseller. Her second is a novel - and entering an arena in which her husband, Martin Amis, is already a star. How does that feel, asks Decca Aitkenhead - 24th May 2008
  • Chloe, Jade, Lewis, Ben, Kimberley, Cameron, Orlando, Amee, Natalie, Chris, Nathan, Celeste, Olias - meet the Simpson kids - Deborah and Derek have 13 children - and they want more. Decca Aitkenhead meets them - 17th May 2008
  • ‘People do stupid things - that's what spreads HIV’ - Western governments are spending mind-boggling sums treating HIV-positive patients in the developing world. But would they save more lives by concentrating on prevention? Decca Aitkenhead meets the outspoken expert who says that liberal fears of appearing judgmental are blinding us to the truth about the disease - 13th May 2008
  • California schemin’ - Your dreams of rapping superstardom are stymied by your Scottish sound, so what do you do? Simple: reinvent yourself as a West Coast wild boy, with American accent and history to match. But, Gavin Bain tells Decca Aitkenhead, keeping it up for two years is murder - 10th May 2008
  • At the cutting edge - Surgery that today seems routine was once both risky and experimental. Guardian writers meet some of those whose lives were either saved or transformed by the pioneering practitioners of the operating table - 3rd May 2008
  • The man who wants Ken's scalp - If Boris Johnson beats Ken Livingstone in London's mayoral election tomorrow, he'll owe a debt to Andrew Gilligan. But why would the self-professed 'lefty' journalist wage a high-profile media campaign against Labour's candidate? It's nothing personal, he tries to assure Decca Aitkenhead - 30th April 2008
  • From Darfur with love - Tomorrow, an extraordinary petition signed by 30,000 Darfuri refugees - and containing vivid accounts of their lives - will arrive in Downing Street. Decca Aitkenhead tells the story of how it all came about because of an aid worker's chance remark - 24th April 2008
  • Trading places - Rose Tremain's novel about an east European immigrant delivers a harsh verdict on modern Britain. But will it win the author her first big prize, asks Decca Aitkenhead - 19th April 2008
  • Absolutely scandalous - Joanna Lumley avoids politics and rarely gets angry, but have her support for Tibet and fury at 'disgusting' celebrity magazines changed her? Decca Aitkenhead finds out - 12th April 2008
  • A man's best friends - Mark Doty's Dog Years, a dog-lover's memoir, casts a brilliant light on human grief and despair, says Decca Aitkenhead - 29th March 2008
  • ‘Hide that bump!’ - Saira Khan shot to fame on The Apprentice as the mouthy Muslim woman who kicked against cultural constraints. Now she tells Decca Aitkenhead why impending motherhood has pulled her back into the arms of tradition - and her own mum - 15th March 2008
  • More sex, less fun - Decca Aitkenhead finds some truths hidden between bed-hopping in Carrie Jones' Cutting up Playgirl - 8th March 2008
  • ‘Enjoy life while you can’ - Climate science maverick James Lovelock believes catastrophe is inevitable, carbon offsetting is a joke and ethical living a scam. So what would he do? By Decca Aitkenhead - 1st March 2008
  • ‘9/11 ripped the bandage off US culture’ - No sooner had the Twin Towers fallen than the search began for the heroes of 9/11. But only men seemed to be eligible. The women who died were ignored; those who survived were encouraged to get back to baking and child-rearing. So says Susan Faludi in her new book The Terror Dream - 18th February 2008
  • Cost cuts at EMI could finally usher in some quality control - The connection between overpaid artists and bad albums is undeniable. Record labels are failing to turn money into music - 17th January 2008

News & updates: