And it's goodbye to all that . . .

I didn't want my boyfriend to glance into the study one day to find a pile of ash beside smouldering

It's been a shortish two and a half years and certainly sweet, but I've decided I have to give up this column. The tug of war between work and weekends has been going on for a long time - work always winning out - and I started to fear I might spontaneously combust. I didn't want my boyfriend to glance into the study one day to find a pile of ash beside smouldering cowboy boots and a finished column blinking away on screen.

But it's always tough to say goodbye to people or pursuits we love, and so, to ease my pain, I thought I would write about the things I actually wouldn't mind seeing the back of.

There are the big things, the serious issues, the countless horrors that blight our world. At the risk of sounding like a beauty queen - a definite stretch for me - I would of course like to say goodbye to war and hello to world peace; and I would be happy to see the back of racism, sexism and all the other negative "isms", along with homo phobia, Islamophobia and all the destructive "phobias". As yet, there is no sign of a final breakthrough on all these large-scale nasties, so I guess the path will remain one of hard work, incremental gains and crossed fingers.

Then there are more specific things that should go down the dumper and which probably could, with a few acts of political will. The horrendously low rape conviction rate, for instance: I would really like to see the back of a situation in which only 5.3 per cent of all reported rapes end in a conviction.

I'd like to say farewell to the rise and rise of the sex industry, and to a gender pay gap that allows employers to pay women 17 per cent less than men for full-time work and 36 per cent less for part-time work and to maintain, for women from ethnic minorities facing both sexism and racism, often a still larger deficit. Will Harriet Harman's proposed Equality Bill address the fact that Pakistani and Bangladeshi women, for instance, earn just 56 per cent of the average hourly wage of white men? And I would like to see the back of the sometimes appalling treatment of the mentally and physically disabled in this country, and much more support - financial and structural - for their carers.

There is also a whole host of small-scale irritants to which I'd like to bid farewell. The rather too graphic television advertisements for laxatives, for example, that arrived on screen the other day as I was eating breakfast. Who allows that kind of scheduling? The ever-growing tendency of people to use text-speak in lieu of our beautiful, complex language, developed over countless centuries, with which people can communicate thoughts far more subtle than OMG (Oh my God!), WTF (What the fuck?) and ROTFLMAO (Rolling on the floor laughing my arse off). I realise this makes me sound fogeyish, but all I can say is that I become so fucking irritated when I read an unpunctuated text message that my ears start to smoke. I also realise that that last sentence doesn't make much use of the subtle, beautiful communication of which I claim to be so fond - more proof that text-speak can have seriously negative affects.

Talking about social discourse, I would like to see the back of air-kissing. It wouldn't matter if there was an accepted form for this - if everyone knew that it was one kiss, or two, but lately people seem to be opting for three or even four kisses, and the whole thing has become dizzying. What's wrong with handshakes?

I could go on, but I would get more angry. That's the problem with thinking about the things you would like to say goodbye to: you get caught up in a rage of grievances, some righteous, some frankly small-scale. On which basis, I shall stop. Thanks for reading.

Kira Cochrane is women's editor of the Guardian

This article first appeared in the 07 July 2008 issue of the New Statesman, British childhood