Why the lynx effect would be a boon for Scotland | Kevin McKenna

During a difficult year, the lynx provided a welcome fragment of good cheer. It seems the big cat could be making a return to the wilds of Scotland after an absence of several hundred years. There are many things to like about the reintroduction of a Champions League predator to the Scottish countryside, not least of which is that it would greatly inconvenience and outrage farming and agricultural types. Indeed, Scotland’s farmers were so perturbed by reports of the lynx’s return that several of them undertook a study trip to Norway for the purpose of building a case against the lynx.

Unsurprisingly, the Norwegian harvesters warned their Scottish brethren that reintroduction of the lynx would be an “absolute catastrophe” for Scotland’s sheep population. The Norwegians claimed that 20,000 sheep were lost last year to the predations of the lynx and unnamed others. Curiously, they couldn’t produce a specific number of deceased sheep that were the sole responsibility of the lynx.

Any study produced after a farmers’ jolly to Scandinavia ought to be treated with extreme caution. These eternal European subsidy junkies have always represented a compelling reason to dislike the European Union. Yet having lived off the fat of farming subsidies for decades, many of them voted to bring us out of Europe. In the case of foot-and-mouth disease, an epidemic that made many farmers rich with swollen payouts, animal hygiene issues were a factor. There was an official investigation into reports that some farmers had deliberately infected their livestock once they discovered the compensation levels.

Reintroduction of the lynx, as well as other big beasties, would be a boon for Scotland. The Lynx UK Trust believes there are many ecological benefits springing from the cat’s return to the Scottish wild. Among these are helping to control deer populations and protecting the capercaillie, one of Scotland’s most cherished big birds, the welfare of which causes many to fret. The trust also points out that overpopulation of deer in Scotland is damaging forest habitats and restricting woodland regeneration.

There are significant ancillary benefits. Scotland’s mountains contribute greatly to the country being consistently voted the world’s most beautiful. Hardly a year passes without Scotland receiving another garland for the beauty and grandeur of its rural landscapes. These jaggy wildernesses are made for top predators, yet apart from a few golden eagles, some osprey and a few wee peregrines, our big spaces have little else but sheep, cows and goats. Even the few decent raptors we’ve got left are at risk of extinction because landowners want to eradicate them to leave plenty of grouse for Prince Harry and his indolent chums to exterminate.

A Eurasian beaver in Tayside, Scotland.



A Eurasian beaver in Tayside, Scotland. Photograph: Nick Upton/Alamy Stock Photo

You can’t get within yards of a decent mountain without a moving sea of blue, yellow and green tramping all over our hills and glens morning, noon and night. Scotland’s national emblem shouldn’t be a thistle – it should be a rucksack. It would be grand to replace some of this seething, sweating river of humanity disfiguring our beautiful places with a few species of serious hunters and biters.

The potential benefits are eye-watering. First, you’d get David Attenborough and his team up here when he gets round to doing a Green Planet or Jaggy Planet series. That would bring in more proper tourism than a few thousand Munro-botherers. And there’s always the joyous possibility of bear or wolves preying on hill walkers and keeping their numbers down to manageable levels.

Yes, yes, yes – I know tourism and “outdoor activities” bring a “much-needed boost” to our economy. Isn’t it curious how that phrase “much-needed boost to the economy” is deployed when the middle classes want to have a party or stretch their legs? Thus Edinburgh’s Hogmanay gives a “much-needed boost” to the economy; hunting and shooting deliver one, too, as do the writhing and perspiring rucksack and cagoule army. Little scrutiny of the phrase “much-needed boost” ever occurs. I doubt whether Edinburgh’s edgier neighbourhoods, such as Pilton and Wester Hailes, share greatly in the “much-needed boost”.

The same siren voices were raised when the beaver was reintroduced to Scotland in Argyll’s Knapdale Forest. Last month, three more beavers were introduced to the forest seven years after the first ones. The success of their reintroduction has exceeded all expectations. Their construction skills make them expert at habitat management to the benefit of Scotland. Their dam-building can stabilise important wetlands during dry months and create still-water pools that become perfect environments for diverse types of insects, such as dragonflies. They can improve biodiversity by ensuring a variety of native tree species flourish.

Unsurprisingly, as with the lynx, the narrow interests of similar opposition groups coalesced in a familiar pattern around the beaver’s reintroduction. Landowners, rich residents, farmers and anglers all opposed the beasts for the flimsiest reasons: houses and business premises could be at risk of flooding. There could be crop damage and an adverse impact on fish stocks. None of this has happened, nor was it ever likely to. As usual, the over-protected interests of privileged groups were being advanced before the interests of the nation. And as usual, their claims went untested.

Some of these landowners are descended from families who participated in an illegal land grab over several hundred years. Having driven people off their lands to make way for sheep, they now try to justify their continued stewardship of these places by saying they are not fit for human communities and that only they possess the skills and experience to manage them properly. So we won’t treat seriously anything they have to say about land conservation and the mix of species that we permit to thrive on them.

Scotland was a home for many of these species well before greedy humans arrived. Our country was designed principally for them. So let’s bring them all back – the lynxes, wolves and bears. This land is their land.

Slave trader’s home, slum, des res: the stories of one house raise restless ghosts

All old houses are haunted. Not by ghosts but by the lives of others. Because to live in an old house is to share your most intimate space with the dead. Houses live longer than people and the harsh fact is that we are just passing through. Our homes, the most acutely personal places in our lives, come to us secondhand, and invisibly link us to people we have never met, people to whom we have no association other than a single shared connection to place.

I have been thinking about this recently because I spent last autumn engaged in a unique television experiment. We set out to discover if it was possible to take a single house and, through old newspapers, documents in the archives and whatever other clues or scraps of evidence we could find, tell the story of all the people who live there; from the day the first resident turned the key in the front door, all the way up to today.

The house selected is a Georgian-style terrace in what is now called the Georgian Quarter of Liverpool. I write “Georgian-style” because it was built in 1840, the third year of Victoria’s reign. Although large, elegant and, in the early 21st century, extremely desirable, it is not unique. There are hundreds like it in Liverpool and many thousands more across the country.

But, after months of investigations, what the researchers who began this project discovered was that it was possible, in the case of 62 Falkner Street, to form a chain of human stories stretching from then to now, from the first resident to the current owner. The lives of all of the people whose stories make up the links in that chain run through the house, because, for each of them, walking through that front door meant that they were home.

Across the four episodes of A House Through Time we uncover their stories, and that of the city in which they lived. More than any other British city, Liverpool’s ride on the rollercoaster of national fortune has been a bumpy one. No other city has been more buffeted by the cycles of boom and bust and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the place that once proudly saw itself as the “second city of empire” suffered more than any other when that empire suddenly evaporated.

The extremes of Liverpool’s story are reflected in the lives of the occupants of 62 Falkner Street. They span the social spectrum, from the well-to-do Victorian gentlemen to the families who huddled together in single rooms during the decades after the second world war when the house degenerated into a tenement slum.

Part of the aim of A House is to answer the question that everyone who has ever lived in an old house has – at some time or another – asked themselves. The thought usually comes late at night or early in the morning, when our eye is caught by what estate agents like to call an “original feature”, or a patch of peeling wallpaper or flaking paint reveals what lies beneath. Those triggers remind us that the buildings we confidently call ours once belonged to others; many and multiple others.

History is about people. Historians who don’t get that tend to be the ones who struggle to get anyone to care about their work. Ultimately you have to care about the people you encounter through your research, if you want anyone else to. But it is all too easy to start caring about figures from the past if you find yourself reading the documents that record their lives while sitting in what was once their kitchen. Or having just walked up a staircase, holding the wooden banister that their hands once gripped. To read their letters from within the house in which they were written, or to hold in your hands their death certificates, while standing on their front steps or in their bedroom, is a strangely intimate experience. A close encounter between historian and subject.

Reading the grim details of a Victorian domestic violence case, while walking through the rooms in which those beatings and beratings took place, felt almost voyeuristic. Too close and a little too real for comfort. To talk about the past residents of the house, to make judgments about them, to sum up their achievements or discuss their failings, from the upstairs sitting room in which they showed off their wealth and entertained their guests one and a half centuries earlier, felt a little presumptuous and almost transgressive. Historians love to talk about how we can get closer to the people of the past, but when it happens of its own volition the effects can be unnerving.

There is no official register of historians. No list from which practitioners of the art can be struck off for professional misconduct. I’ve recently found myself grateful for this omission because of all the historical projects I have worked on, none has made it so easy to cross lines, or so tempting to overstep marks. I have found myself marvelling at my capacity to feel genuine dislike for men who died over a century before my birth. To pass judgment on anyone – living or dead – on the basis of a handful of letters and ledger entries is palpably unfair and arguably ridiculous, and yet, in this case, almost impossible to resist.

Gaynor Evans lives at 62 Falkner Street with her two children. The house, built in 1840, has been home to a cross-section of British society, warts and all.



Gaynor Evans has lived at 62 Falkner Street with her two children for nearly eight years. The house, built in 1840, has been home to a cross-section of British society, warts and all. Photograph: Emerald Coulthard/BBC/Twenty Twenty productions Ltd/Emerald Coulthard

The enmity I feel towards the trader in slave-produced cotton who lived in the house, and whose personal life was lived with as much callous disregard for others as his professional life, is real and involuntary. This is a man I know only from a cache of damning official documents and – incredibly – a surviving portrait in oil paint. Only a kangaroo court in a one-party state would pass judgment on the basis of such flimsy evidence. Yet over the months my disdain for this ghost from the archives has grown, despite my attempts at professional detachment.

I have been equally surprised at my capacity to feel sympathy and empathy for the sufferings of people whom I only know from patchy documentary evidence. When I discovered that one late-Victorian resident of the house had died of heart failure, caused by years living under the shadow of a thyroid condition known as Graves’ disease, I was astonished by how emotional – rather than objective and professional – was my response to her story.

By way of an excuse, and by chance, I spent four years living with the same disease. A few days after reading the 1880s death certificate of Esther Lublin I found myself alone in my office, on the top floor of my house, reading old diaries, remembering how painful it had been. I had feared that Graves’ disease would waste years of my life, before modern treatments could bring it under control. For her there were few options. She must have known that, sooner or later, the condition would kill her. Two people with the same disease. I lived, she died – because we were born in different centuries.

Nothing about this can be said to be truly revelatory. We all know that until the 20th century billions died of diseases for which cures now exist. But knowing the historical facts and the bleak statistics is very different to reading of Esther Lublin’s tragic life, our shared diagnosis, her name and age – younger than I am now – scrawled on to her death certificate by a busy doctor.

History, to me, is all about those shiver-down-the-spine moments. When you hold in your hands an object created hundreds of years before your birth and feel the vague presence of the hands that held it in the past. Or when your boot turns over a piece of shrapnel on a first world war battlefield and you have to stop yourself speculating about what that muddy chunk of steel might have done to flesh and bone. Many historians I admire admit to such moments, although those admissions are to be made only in private and to other similarly afflicted historians or students. But they are what draws us to the archives and set us off on early morning trips across overgrown cemeteries. Historians have to be nosy, they have to want to know what others experienced. Part of that is achieved by being open to at least trying to feel something of what they felt.

If walls could talk it would be our homes – not our grand public buildings – that would have all the best stories. The real stuff of human life – love, childhood, vulnerability, intimacy, betrayal, acceptance and pain – is revealed behind closed doors and drawn curtains. It is at home, with our partners, parents and children, that we are genuinely ourselves. The version of history I was taught at school was largely one of great men and great deeds, a history that took place in palaces and battlefields. It was silent about our shared, inner and domestic histories, the stories of the rest of us, the ungreat, who live quietly and privately in anonymous terraced houses.

A House Through Time begins on BBC2 on 4 January

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.

Want to respond to this piece? To be considered for inclusion on Weekend magazine’s letters page in print, please email weekend@theguardian.com, including your name and address (not for publication).

Police investigate allegations of illegal Boxing Day fox hunts

Allegations of multiple illegal Boxing Day fox hunts are being investigated by police across the country.

North Wales police launched an investigation after a dead fox was found near the A55 in Anglesey after reports of six “hunting” dogs on the loose.

When officers were sent to recover the dogs, the dead fox was found in the immediate area. An investigation is under way to identify the owners of the dogs and the circumstances in which the fox died.

Elsewhere, officers in Cheshire said they were made aware of footage and reports of an illegal Boxing Day hunt in Allostock, near Knutsford.

Cheshire police appealed for witnesses. A force spokesman said: “We are aware of footage and reports that an illegal hunt has taken place in Allostock and consequently detectives and rural and wildlife trained officers are investigating the allegations.

In Suffolk, where it was claimed a fox was killed, officers issued a renewed appeal for witnesses after a disturbance broke out between members of the Great Thurlow hunt and observers. Images posted on social media purported to show the dead animal.

Thousands of hunters and hunt followers met at more than 250 registered Boxing Day hunts after reports that the prime minister, Theresa May, will abandon her election manifesto pledge to give MPs a free vote on whether to overturn the foxhunting ban.