The Guardian view on Theresa May’s Munich speech: partnership should be indivisible | Editorial

Britain is offering commitment and cooperation to Europe on security and intelligence. It should do the same in its Brexit strategy

Theresa May and Angela Merkel speak in Berlin on 16 February 2018






Theresa May and Angela Merkel speak in Berlin on 16 February 2018. ‘Theresa May is in every context except Brexit a traditional multilateralist.’ Photograph: Markus Schreiber/AP

A year ago, the annual Munich security conference – the most important gathering of international defence chiefs and ministers in the calendar – met to debate the proposition: “Post-truth, post-West, post-Order?” A year on, this weekend’s Munich conference has a new theme: “To the Brink – and Back?” The sense of relief implicit in the difference between the 2017 and the 2018 themes is unmistakeable and, to an extent, justifiable. The Trump administration has not, after all, trashed everything in the policymakers’ world, as it threatened to do 12 months ago. Explosions in relations with Iran, North Korea and even China have been averted, for now. Washington has not so far rolled over in the face of Russian aggression in eastern Europe. The so-called Islamic State has been pushed back, for the moment. The insurgent political tide that swept the US and the UK in 2016 has mostly been kept at bay elsewhere.

Yet while the worst may have been avoided, genuine positives are thin on the ground. Global confrontations continue and in some cases – the Middle East, for example – to deteriorate dangerously. The alliances that exist to control and resist them are still in shock at the Trump effect. Theresa May is in every context except Brexit a traditional multilateralist. She will certainly give a less thoroughly provocative speech at the Munich conference on Saturday than the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, did at the same venue 12 months ago, when he ludicrously described Brexit as a national “liberation”. Yet, viewed from elsewhere in Europe, Mrs May still leads a country that, by voting for Brexit, has made a serious contribution to the problem of instability, not one that is playing a reliable role in solving it.

Mrs May’s rhetorical answer is the mantra that Britain is leaving the European Union but not leaving Europe. Her visit to Angela Merkel in Berlin on Friday and her appearance at the Munich conference are designed to underpin that message and to make it a springboard for her Brexit strategy. Britain, Mrs May says, is fully committed to European cooperation, through Nato and in other ways, to deal with common threats to security. She will cite the fact that British troops are on the frontline against Russia in Estonia, that she has just pledged a new support role with France in the Sahel, that planned troop withdrawals from Germany are now being reexamined, and that the UK is a heavy-hitting and reliable partner in intelligence sharing and police coordination.

Security and intelligence have now been placed squarely in the vanguard of Mrs May’s political effort to persuade the rest of Europe that Britain remains a reliable and committed post-Brexit partner. The head of MI6, Alex Younger, appeared in Munich on Friday with his French and German counterparts to commit themselves to cross-border information sharing. His predecessor Sir John Sawers and the former GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan took to the media with a similar message. And the prime minister will cap this all off on Saturday in a speech that repeatedly urges closer cooperation with Europe and proposes a new UK-EU security treaty.

There are things to welcome here. After a grim two years of government negativity about the EU, it is a relief to hear the prime minister praising the union and being practical about it. Yet it is hard to see what EU partners are supposed to make of a prime minister who embraces the union at one moment then turns her back on it the rest of the time. The one thing that she could do to make her protestations more credible is to bolster it with a soft Brexit strategy. But this, disastrously, is the one thing she is terrified of doing.

The best signs from the Women’s March in London – in pictures

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US government shutdown: anniversary of Trump inauguration marred by chaos

A year to the day after Trump took office, government goes into shutdown as nationwide protests take aim at his divisive presidency

Federal workers were told to stay home after the White House and Congress failed to pass a government spending bill.






Federal workers were told to stay home after the White House and Congress failed to pass a government spending bill.
Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s first anniversary in office was marked by the turbulence and division that have defined his presidency, with a government shutdown and protests in cities across the country.

Up to 800,000 federal workers were told to stay home after the White House and Congress failed to strike a compromise on a government spending bill. Workers deemed essential and armed forces personnel were asked to stay at work. If the shutdown continues, they will likely go unpaid.

Armed services personnel abroad got their first taste of the looming cuts on Saturday when they were told they would not be able to watch Sunday’s NFL playoff games because the armed forces broadcasting network had shut down.

With crisis talks under way, Trump cancelled a trip to his Florida retreat at Mar-a-Lago, where he had hoped to celebrate his year in office at a gala dinner.

Instead, as protesters marked their own anniversary of major anti-Trump demonstrations outside the White House and in other major cities, the president stayed in Washington, firing off angry tweets.

Quick guide

All you need to know about the US government shutdown

What is a government shutdown?

When the US Congress fails to pass appropriate funding for government operations and agencies, a shutdown is triggered. Most government services are frozen, barring those that are deemed “essential”, such as the work of the Department of Homeland Security and FBI. During a shutdown, nearly 40% of the government workforce is placed on unpaid furlough and told not to work. Many, but not all, are non-defense federal employees. Active duty military personnel are not furloughed.

Why is the government poised to shut down?

Members of Congress are at an impasse over what should be included in a spending bill to keep the government open. Democrats have insisted any compromise must also include protections for the nearly 700,000 young, undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers, who were brought to the US as children.

The Dreamers, who were granted temporary legal status under Barack Obama, were newly exposed to the threat of deportation when Donald Trump moved to rescind their protections in September.

Trump and Republicans have argued immigration is a separate issue and can be dealt with at a later time.

How common is a shutdown?

There have been 12 government shutdowns in the US since 1981, although ranging in duration. The longest occurred under Bill Clinton, lasting a total of 21 days from December 1995 to January 1996, when the then House speaker, Newt Gingrich, demanded sharp cuts to government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and welfare.

The most recent shutdown transpired under Obama in 2013, pitting the president against the Republican-led House of Representatives. Republicans refused to support a spending bill that included funding for Obama’s healthcare law, resulting in a 16-day shutdown that at its peak affected 850,000 federal employees.

What would be the cost of a shutdown?

A government shutdown would cost the US roughly $6.5bn a week, according to a report by S&P Global analysts. “A disruption in government spending means no government paychecks to spend; lost business and revenue to private contractors; lost sales at retail shops, particularly those that circle now-closed national parks; and less tax revenue for Uncle Sam,” the report stated. “That means less economic activity and fewer jobs.”

Nearly 1 million people would not receive regular paychecks in the event of a shutdown. In previous shutdowns, furloughed employees have been paid retrospectively – but those payments have often been delayed.

Sabrina Siddiqui


Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images North America
Thank you for your feedback.

Trump sought to blame Democrats for the shutdown, claiming they were putting immigrants before other Americans.

Democrats blamed Trump, for walking away from a compromise over the future of young undocumented migrants known as Dreamers. They pointed out that the shutdown, the first since October 2013, was the first when one party controlled all three branches of government.

Trump, who had intended to celebrate the anniversary at Mar-a-Lago, remained in Washington on Saturday.



Trump, who had intended to celebrate the anniversary at Mar-a-Lago, remained in Washington on Saturday. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

At a press conference, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi alluded to a tweet Trump wrote in May 2017, saying a shutdown would be good for the country.

“Happy anniversary Mr President, your wish came true,” Pelosi said. “You won the shutdown. The shutdown is all yours.”

Addressing the House, Republican speaker Paul Ryan

said: “Senate Democrats refuse to fund the government unless we agree to their demands on something entirely unrelated. They want a deal on immigration. And then they’ll think about reopening the government.”

Saturday’s talks were focused on passing a stopgap spending measure. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was being updated and had been in touch with Republican leaders.

“The president will not negotiate on immigration reform until Democrats stop playing games and reopen the government,” Sanders said.

At a White House briefing, director of legislative affairs Marc Short did signal a concession when he said Trump would sign a resolution that would keep the government funded for three weeks. The spending bill rejected by the Senate late Friday night would have kept the government open for four.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca), Obama-era legislation that allowed approximately 700,000 Dreamers to stay in the country, is set to expire on 5 March after being rescinded by Trump. Democrats have refused to support any spending bill that does not restore such protection.

Republican senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, said in a statement he believed a continuing resolution “through 8 February” and a commitment to “seek resolution on immigration, disaster relief, military and government funding, Chip [children’s health insurance], and other healthcare related issues” would pass the upper chamber.

Quick guide

What now for Daca and the Dreamers?

Who are the Dreamers?

Dreamers are young immigrants who would qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (Daca) program, enacted under Barack Obama in 2012. Most people in the program entered the US as children and have lived in the US for years “undocumented”. Daca gave them temporary protection from deportation and work permits. Daca was only available to people younger than 31 on 15 June 2012, who arrived in the US before turning 16 and lived there continuously since June 2007. Most Dreamers are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and the largest numbers live in California, Texas, Florida and New York. Donald Trump cancelled the program in September but has also said repeatedly he wants Congress to develop a program to “help” the population.

What will happen to the Dreamers?

Under the Trump administration, new applications under Daca will no longer be accepted. For those currently in the program, their legal status and other Daca-related permits (such as to work and attend college) will begin expiring in March 2018 – unless Congress passes legislation allowing a new channel for temporary or permanent legal immigration status – and Dreamers will all lose their status by March 2020.

Technically, as their statuses lapse they could be deported and sent back to countries many have no familiarity with. It is still unclear whether this would happen. Fear had been rising in the run-up to last week’s announcement. Those with work permits expiring between 5 September 2017 and 5 March 2018 will be allowed to apply for renewal by 5 October.

What does this week's ruling by Judge William Alsup mean?

In his ruling, Alsup ordered the Trump administration to restart the program, allowing Daca recipients who already qualify for the program to submit applications for renewal.

However, he said the federal government did not have to process new applications from people who had not previously received protection under the program.

When the Trump administration ended the Daca program, it allowed Daca recipients whose legal status expired on or before 5 March to renew their legal status. Roughly 22,000 recipients failed to successfully renew their legal status for various reasons.

Legal experts and immigration advocates are advising Daca recipients not to file for renewal until the administration provides more information about how it intends to comply with the ruling.

“These next days and weeks are going to create a lot of confusion on the legal front,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, which has filed a separate lawsuit against the Trump administration’s termination of Daca.

Thank you for your feedback.

But Short said Senate Democrats were “basically conducting a two-year-old temper tantrum in front of the American people” and said: “We will not negotiate the status of 690,000 unlawful immigrants while hundreds of millions of tax-paying Americans, including hundreds of thousands of our troops in uniform and border agents protecting our country, are held hostage by Senate Democrats.”

White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney accused Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer of lying about his Friday meeting with Trump.

Trump and Schumer shared a cheeseburger lunch at the White House. The president reportedly agreed to more time for a deal on Dreamers in return for more defence spending, funding for a border wall and tougher enforcement of immigration law.

But the deal began to fray over the duration of the stopgap and the toughness of immigration provisions and John Kelly, the White House chief of staff and an immigration hardliner, called Schumer to kill the talks.

On Saturday, Schumer said dealing with President Trump was “like negotiating with Jello”, later adding that this was “because he can’t stick to the terms.”

Schumer’s No 2 in the Senate, Dick Durbin of Illinois, said a bipartisan group of senators had been on the cusp of an agreement late on Friday, only for Ryan to inform his counterparts in the Senate that House Republicans would not agree to it.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, insisted in an email the speaker and McConnell had been “in communication and full agreement throughout”.

The Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey said Republicans had ceded their negotiating position to a bloc of hardline House conservatives.

“I was not elected to genuflect to the Freedom Caucus,” Casey said, before walking to the floor to vote down the funding measure that passed the House on Thursday.

People participate in the second annual Women’s March in Washington.



People participate in the second annual Women’s March in Washington. Photograph: Aaron P Bernstein/Reuters

By Saturday morning, it appeared the White House had calculated that by making Daca non-negotiable, the Democrats had made themselves vulnerable to blame.

“Democrats are far more concerned with illegal immigrants than they are with our great military or safety at our dangerous southern border,” one presidential tweet said. “They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead.”

In a CNN poll, 31% blamed Democrats for the shutdown, 26% blamed Republicans and 21% held Trump responsible. Although a plurality blamed Republicans and there is broad support for protecting Dreamers, a majority thought it was more important to avoid a shutdown.

On Capitol Hill, there was some optimism. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, said there was “certainly a real possibility [of a deal] if there’s good faith on both sides”.

In the White House’s view, Friday night saw “the first real serious negotiations about this [spending bill] which only happened because of the vote result”.

Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican, said Democrats “may have wanted to bring out their Trump posters for a couple of days, show their extreme elements of the party that they were with them”.

Trump’s ‘clown fascism’ and the US constitution | Letters

For transatlantic admirers of Jonathan Freedland’s Bring Home the Revolution (1999), the shaking of Freedland’s regard for the American constitutional system is disappointing but understandable (The year of Trump has laid bare the US constitution’s serious flaws, 30 December). The first year in “Trumplandia” has been a disheartening, infuriating slog for most Americans; nevertheless, there is reason to hope that the constitutional mechanism will right itself and vindicate Freedland’s original estimate of it.

Freedland correctly diagnoses Donald Trump’s disregard for constitutional norms and the feckless lack of principle of today’s Grand Old Party, yet these very patterns of behaviour have engendered a renaissance in the assertion of first amendment rights by the American public, especially the exercise of free speech and free assembly, and the operation of a free press. Activism by individuals and by myriad groups has flowered; the “resistance” to Trump is real. The American media also have shaken off their torpor. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian, among others, are exposing the epic malfeasance and cynicism of Republican rule. The investigation by the special counsel Robert S Mueller promises, moreover, to reveal the irregularities of the 2016 election and to cast in sharper relief the sordid impulses that animate Trump’s “clown fascism”.

Removal of Trump through the impeachment process, as Freedland notes, seems improbable; however, the electoral eclipse of the GOP in 2018 and of Trump in 2020, and a return to normative political practice, remain real possibilities. Trump’s conduct is singularly atrocious but the American constitutional system has weathered graver challenges – a bloody civil war, McCarthyism – and emerged strengthened. While legislative and constitutional reinforcement of heretofore unwritten norms may be necessary in the longer term, the ballot box can still be a potent corrective in the shorter term.
David Routt
Richmond, Virginia, USA

Jonathan Freedland claims that it was a fatal oversight of the framers of the US constitution, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton in particular, not to “reckon on a partisanship so intense it would blind elected representatives to the national interest – so that they would, repeatedly, put party ahead of country”. Yet in Federalist paper 10, The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection, written before the constitution was ratified, and laying out some of the thinking behind its creation, Madison writes of factions, defined as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community”.

Putting party ahead of country, as Freedland frames it, fits this definition fairly well. Further, it becomes increasingly clear, on any plausible and full reading of Madison’s paper, that the framers were well aware of the ways in which a powerful and united faction could corrupt both the republican ideal and its political practice.
James Garfield Doyle
Southampton

Having long been held up as one of the great blueprints of democracy, the US constitution appears to be seriously – and centrally – flawed in allowing, indeed requiring, the president to nominate candidates for the supreme court. This, and the ensuing process of approval by the Senate, renders the appointment process inherently political.

Montesquieu’s theory of the separation of powers between legislature, executive and judiciary – recognised as the essential tenet of democracy, the merging of any two of such powers paving the way to totalitarianism – appears to have been overlooked by the wise and enlightened members of Congress who drafted the constitution.

The comparison with the process for appointments to the UK supreme court is stark, the selection here being an object lesson not only in choosing the best candidates but in depoliticised objectivity, those responsible for drafting the appointment rules being truly worthy of Montesquieu’s plaudits.

Trump’s appointment of the arch-conservative Neil Gorsuch to the supreme court brought into sharp focus the role of the president and the extension of his powers into all three facets of government, the electing of a president with scant regard for the value of civil society or the rule of law thus being a cause of great alarm.
Martin Allen
Shoreham, West Sussex

One thing that would make a great difference in the US system of government would be a fair electoral system. Not one that excludes anyone without big money, not one where large parts of the country appear as totally dominated by one of the big parties, and where minorities are unrepresented or, in the case of gerrymandering, where majorities are underrepresented.

If the single transferable vote were adopted, those who support gun control and other sane measures would be much freer to say so and the power of malignant bodies such as the NRA diminished.
Kevin Chaffey
Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh

Jonathan Freedland says that “the US has an unwritten constitution that – just like ours – relies on the self-restraint of the key political players”. In the UK we have at least one very striking parallel. Before Margaret Thatcher’s time, certainly from the end of the second world war onwards, that self-restraint was generally practised and we experienced a relatively pluralist approach to governance. Thatcher and her people recognised that constitutionally the centre was in charge and that the self-restraint previously practised would only prevent them from reaching their objectives. In this sense Thatcher was a populist too, not entirely dissimilar from Trump, and we are still suffering from her legacy four decades later.
Professor Ron Glatter
Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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From the time Trump’s tweets disappeared to David Davis’s Brexit diary: satirists take on the news

What happened that time Trump disappeared from Twitter? Only Joe Lycett knows

On 3 November 2017, President Donald J Trump’s Twitter account was taken down for 11 minutes. For those moments, the world had no idea what he was thinking or feeling or watching on Fox.

Until now: a Russian hacker I once matched with on Bumble has acquired the president’s emails sent during that time. They are reproduced, exclusively for the Guardian and in full, here.

From: POTUS

To: John F Kelly, White House chief of staff

Subject: DO I EXIST??

What is it to exist, John? Am I just the sum of my senses? Am I merely what people say I am? Or is there more to existence than just space and time? Could it be that there is another dimension? I am pondering these questions, and I trust you have the answers.

President Donald J Trump

From: John F Kelly

To: POTUS

Subject: Re: DO I EXIST??

Have you had your nap today Donald?

J

From: POTUS

To: John F Kelly

Subject: Re: Re: DO I EXIST??

No I have not had my nap you SAD LITTLE MAN, and I will tell you for why. Because I am ABSOLUTELY LIVID!!!!1 Why???? Why don’t you search my name on Twitter you IDIOT DOG? Actually don’t bother. I’ll tell you what it says!! It says “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!

I ask again John you WEIRDO: DO I EXIST???

President Donald J Trump

From: John F Kelly

To: POTUS

Subject: Re: Re: Re: DO I EXIST??

OK give me a minute I’ll call Twitter HQ.

J

From: POTUS

To: Christopher Wray, director of FBI

Subject: TWITTER!!!!!!1

I know you’ve BLOCKED MY TWEETS!!!!1! You will not stop me I HAVE A BIG PLAN A GREAT PLAN!!!!

President Donald J Trump

From: POTUS

To: Barack Obama

Subject: TWITTER!!!!!!1

I know you’ve BLOCKED MY TWEETS!!!!1! You will not stop me I HAVE A BIG PLAN A GREAT PLAN!!!!

President Donald J Trump

From: POTUS

To: Kim Jong-un

Subject: TWITTER!!!!!!1

I know you’ve BLOCKED MY TWEETS!!!!1! You will not stop me I HAVE A BIG PLAN A GREAT PLAN!!!!

President Donald J Trump

From: Kim Jong-un

To: POTUS

Subject: Re: TWITTER!!!!!!1

Yeh I did it and so what stupid fat man???? Lol

From: POTUS

To: Kim Jong-un

Subject: Re: Re: TWITTER!!!!!!1

DON’T CALL ME FAT!!!!1111

From: FLOTUS

To: POTUS

Subject: Very frightened

Donald I am very scared they are saying you do not exist? Mxxx

From: POTUS

To: FLOTUS

Subject: Re: Very frightened

Melanie, I DO exist! DO NOT FORGET ME!!! Kim Jong-un did it!!! I think the bosses at Twitter are sorting it. Nice guys! Can I use your account for a bit???

President Donald J Trump

From: FLOTUS

To: POTUS

Subject: Re: Re: Very frightened

No Donald, not again I lost too many followers last time. Why do you call me Melanie? Are you having an affair Donald? Mx

From: POTUS

To: FLOTUS

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Very frightened

AUTO CORRECT BABE!!!1

President Donald J Trump

From: John F Kelly

To: POTUS

Subject: Re: Re: Re: DO I EXIST??

They’re on it. Apparently a prank by a rogue employee on their last day.

J

From: POTUS

To: John F Kelly

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: DO I EXIST??

Yes yes how long John? How long can I live in this PATHETIC PIT OF BOREDOM? Melania is petrified and I have a GREAT tweet about Crooked Hillary. How can I be SILENCED and yet CNN still be allowed to SPOUT LIES???

President Donald J Trump

From: John F Kelly

To: POTUS

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DO I EXIST??

Any minute now Mr President. What’s the tweet?

J

From: POTUS

To: John F Kelly

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DO I EXIST??

Don’t you DARE tell me how to use words John. I have THE BEST WORDS. NUCLEAR HORSESHOE!!! AMBIDEXTROUS BARNYARD!!!!!

The tweet is “Crooked Hillary should stop WHINING like a SAD GRASSHOPPER. We won!!!! Go and cry on Bill’s shoulder you HAIRY CANDLE!!!”

President Donald J Trump

From: John F Kelly

To: POTUS

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DO I EXIST??

OK. Your Twitter is back online. Love the hairy candle tweet but maybe save it for later and do a statement about the rogue employee?

J

From: POTUS

To: John F Kelly

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DO I EXIST??

It’s asking me to log in do you know what my pw is? Do the Russians know??? ASK THE RUSSIANS JOHN!!!!11

President Donald J Trump

From: John F Kelly

To: POTUS

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DO I EXIST??

Your login is @realdonaldtrump and your pass is thispasswordisthebestpassword123.

J

From: POTUS

To: John F Kelly

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DO I EXIST??

Thank you John you are a good guy. I’ve always said that. I CALL THE SHOTS THOUGH!!! No calls for the next 30 minutes I’m having my nap. Nighty bless.

President Donald J Trump

***

Gráinne Maguire gets a peek at deleted chapters from Ivanka Trump’s manual for working women

Ivanka Trump



Photographs: Reuters, Alamy, AP, PA

In May, Ivanka Trump released a guide for women in the workplace, Women Who Work. Finally, after huge public demand, Wikileaks has released the chapters cut from the final edition.

1. Get your promotion

Say you’re a busy single mom working in McDonald’s and you don’t feel your skills are being utilized. I hear you, sister! I’m just like you. Architect your best life going forward. Get a mentor! Go for a coffee with Richard Branson, it doesn’t have to be as formal as a dinner; you’re both busy people. If Richard is out of town, see if Anna Wintour is free for a game of tennis. Yes, she doesn’t work in your field but maybe she has the insight that could stimulate the next idea. Then arrange your meeting with your boss and tell Mr McDonald’s why you deserve that raise. If he refuses, just smile and get your dad to fire him.

Inspo: “Design a life that honours you!” Queen Elizabeth The First

2. How to influence policy

A lot of people think making a stand means actually saying words out of your mouth. Not so. Think like Taylor Swift, she’s a feminist but in a way that manages to reassure people who love women and people who hate women, too. That’s winning. Say your boss has decided women in your office shouldn’t be allowed health insurance, maternity pay or access to inside toilets. That’s an opportunity! Offer to speak to your boss, but just use the time to sort out who is going where for Christmas and laugh about what a freaking mess your sister Tiffany is. Then leave and say your boss is really listening to women. You’re a woman and he listened to you. Just don’t let on about your secret private toilet because women are so horrible to the pretty girls, right? Nevertheless she persisted.

Inspo: “What is the blueprint to your happiness strategy going forward?” Cleopatra

3. How to check if your
stepmother is a robot

Sometimes stepmoms can be hard to read: is she a mom, a sister or a cyborg programmed by the CIA because your real stepmom has scaled the gates again? The key is sudden loud noises, tickling behind her knee or suddenly shouting, “Dad isn’t breathing!” If “Mom” doesn’t react, let the nearest special agent know it’s a “bot” day. If she starts shrieking with joy, then angrily cursing you in Slovenian, it’s just a regular stepmom moment. Every day a woman inspires me.

Inspo: “If You Can’t Handle Me At My Best You Don’t Deserve Me At My Worst!” The Snow Queen

4. How to put the cool in complicit

Sometimes it’s hard to pick the right outfit that says, sure, I’m using the white blond conventional good looks society has trained us to associate with moral virtue to normalize the race war, but how can I still have fun with it? It can be tricky. You want an outfit that says by day, “I’m reassuring people it’s OK to blame Muslims for the banking crisis” but at night reads more, “I’m a hoot at dinner parties.” Luckily my fashion range bridges both those challenges – they’re sexy enough to guarantee a wolf-whistle from your dad but they’ve been made in China, so there’s the reassurance that a foreigner has suffered making it. Listen to women.

Inspo: “Sometimes you have to throw a tiara on and remind them who they are dealing with.” Margaret Thatcher

5. Emergency impeachment kit

We all worry we might have to flee at short notice, right? I keep a handy Ivanka Trump Diplomatic Immunity Suitcase under my bed at all times. You’ll just need your passport, a Russian phrasebook and cyanide capsules. Also, scented candles.

Inspo: “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!” Marie Antoinette

6. Self-care

As women we are always too hard on ourselves. We all have bad moments! You know when your kids can’t sleep, your husband’s night screams are keeping you awake and you can’t shake off that vague sense of gnawing, corroding guilt? You want to sleep but every time you close your eyes you see your younger self pointing at you and shouting, “Shame!” and then everyone is pointing and shouting at you as you get bundled into a car by the FBI? I find crystals, lavender and listening to Disney songs on repeat at full volume helps, because it reminds you: you are a princess and everything is going to be just fine.

Inspo: “She believed she could, so she did.” Joan of Arc

Gráinne Maguire hosts a podcast, What Has The News Ever Done For Me?, available now on iTunes

***

The diary of David Davis, aged 69 years and one week

David Davis



Photographs: Rex/Shutterstock, PA Images, LNP

What’s the Brexit secretary been up to? Nish Kumar has the scoop

The Guardian has obtained a copy of what appears to be Brexit secretary David Davis’s personal diary from 2017, found on a bench outside the Tunbridge Wells branch of SuperSquad Paintball.

1 January 2017
Happy New Year, DD.

Spent NYE with the guys from my Andy McNab book group. Got a pounding hangover. I feel like I’ve got a Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter hovering inside my skull. In spite of that, really looking forward to showing Brexit who’s boss (me).

Yours drunkenly, DD

29 March
Morning, DD.

The PM triggered article 50 today, and there’s some chat in the office about how I should “spend more time at work and less time on the climbing wall in my shed”. I tell them to pipe down, and that the climbing wall is where I do my best thinking. (After all, that’s where I came up with the idea of having T-shirts for ladies to wear that say “It’s DD for me” across the boobs.) So I think it’s pretty clear I’m not going to solve Brexit sat behind a desk. I’m going to solve it by getting my climb on.

Yours at altitude, DD

9 June
The morning after the election. Theresa’s had a shocker. Sending her a pick-me-up present. A “Keep Calm and Carry On” mug and an “It’s DD for me” T-shirt should suffice.

25 June
What-ho, DD!

Just had to do an interview with the Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation (lol). They were asking about our Brexit reports – I fobbed them off nicely. “We’ve got 50, nearly 60 sectoral analyses already done,” I said.

Took the rest of the afternoon off to have a good old climb.

Yours muscularly, DD

17 July
Bonjour, DD (obviously this is ironic; we both know I don’t approve of French in any way, be it the language, the people or the toast).

Turned up at the EU for a conflab with the pencil pushers of Brussels. I walk into the room and give it my classic greeting: “Achtung Eurowankers – it’s double DD.” True to form, the absolute squares had turned up with piles of notes. I had nothing, like a legend. Just flashed the pearly whites for a quick photo op that the papers lapped up. I pretended to pay attention for a couple of hours and then left to sink a few strong Belgian lagers. When in Rome (Brussels) and all that.

Au revoir (see above), DD

26 October
Hey, DD,

More questions about the impact reports. I brilliantly bought us more time by saying they had “excruciating detail”. In reality, I’ve just got a piece of paper that says “Brexit?” on it, and then some ideas for possible SAS codenames for yours truly. Current fave – the Silver Cobra.

Yours anonymously, the SC

6 December
Bad day. Had to fess up that we haven’t so much “done” the reports as we have “not started”. Copping some serious flak in the press for it. Might have to start doing some work. Been walking around the office, quipping that, “I’ve worked so hard pretending to work that the real thing will be easy”, and everyone was loving that comment, silently.

7 December
To be absolutely fair, the EU’s Wikipedia page is very informative.

11 December
Been riffing out some absolute gold in interviews in the last couple of days. My Territorial SAS training has really helped, especially the stuff about staying composed under pressure and how to do up your tie nicely. Got a question about a future trade deal with the EU, and I’ve said we want “Canada plus plus plus”. This basically means it’ll be the same, but it’ll be written in ALL CAPS and in a way better font.

Then clarified the stuff about the impact reports by saying we don’t need them, and dropped this pearl: “When you know those things, you know what you need to know.” I think I’ve got my next T-shirt slogan. As long as I can work in something about tits.

12 December
Getting some blowback after saying the agreement was a “statement of intent” and not legally enforceable. Guy Verhofstadt has got his Euro-knickers in an almighty twist and is getting harsh. Normally I would admire the no-nonsense vibe of a man quite literally called “Guy”, but this bloke is absolutely doing my head in.

14 December
One of the lads from the McNab book group suggested an afternoon of paintballing. And I needed it, I’ve been working upwards of three hours per day and DD is DDrained. This is what I need to clear my mind. I’m going to be a more considered and detail-oriented DD. Nothing is going to escape my attention.

That is the final entry. The diary was found among full printouts of the Wikipedia pages for Brexit and article 50, as well as a hand-drawn comic entitled The Silver Cobra.

Nish Kumar hosts The Mash Report, which is back on BBC2 on 18 January at 10pm.

***

Amber Rudd’s election night in 10 text messages

As leaked to Ayesha Hazarika

Amber Rudd



‘C’mon Rudders… get a grip… you’re better than this.’ Photograph: Kevin Coombs/Reuters

00:21 to: Bestie

I cannot BELIEVE this. Two recounts??? I’ve just done some terrible interview with the BBC where I look like I’m about to lose it. Is it all over Twitter? What was I thinking of with that stripy jacket?

00:22 to: Bestie

How long before Quentin Letts calls me the love child of Tootsie and Bertie Bassett? Twat. D’you remember when he said I looked like Dustin Hoffman after the sodding election debate Theresa May forced me to do?

00:23 to: Evil twins

Hi Nick and Fi. Please call me. I haven’t heard a peep from Theresa or you guys? You did make me do that debate remember?

00:24 to: Evil twins

This is all your fault anyway. If you hadn’t put Theresa in a witness protection scheme, none of this would have happened. Snap election. I know what I’d like to snap.

00:26 To: Lynton Crosby

Hey Lynton. Long time, no speak. Left you a few messages since we spoke about the leadership thing. We should hook up again. I’m free now. Just waiting for my recount. I’m totally going to be OK.

00:27 to: Me

C’mon Rudders… get a grip… you’re better than this.

00:28 to: Bestie

Do you think I could go back into film? Remember Four Weddings? … I was so good at co-ordinating all the aristocrats. That’s why I’d be a shamazing Tory leader. If only Hugh Grant was PM!!

00:29 to: Constituency office

Why did I EVER want to represent this hellhole? I only went for Hastings because I wanted to be within two hours of London. What is “and Rye” anyway?

00:36 to: Bestie

Oh. My. God. 346 votes! That’s not a victory, that’s a prison sentence. How can I mount my leadership bid now? Bet Ruth D is loving this. She’ll be down here looking for a seat before you can say Barnett formula. I need some of whatever Emily Thornberry’s on.

00:38 to: Constituency office

Ignore last message. I am of course delighted to continue to serve the fine people of Hastings and Rye? (pls check), congratulate Theresa May and thank her for her strong and stable leadership. Issue that last bit to the press ASAP.

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