My job application to be Nadine Dorries' daughter

I would like to be considered for the role of Nadine Dorries' other daughter.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I was excited to learn that Nadine Dorries employs her daughter on a salary of £30,000 to £34,999 as "senior secretary" - this according to the MPs' expenses for 2012/13 published on 12 September by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

I would like to offer my services as Nadine Dorries' other daughter.

I cannot think of a role that would help me stand out more in my future career. As Nadine Dorries herself retweeted yesterday:

To date I have had 27 years experience in a similar (daughter) role, working my way up from a starting salary of 50p a week. But for a while now I have been taking on outside work to supplement my earnings, which have become increasingly sparse and unpredictable. I believe I have all the key skills you are looking for.

Key Skills:

1. Being Nadine Dorries' daughter

Cards on the table here: I am not Nadine Dorries' daughter. However, I'd like to make the case that I am. Please don't stop reading!

Let me start by quoting Nadine Dorries herself, talking about her blog in 2010, after an MP standards watchdog criticised it for misleading constituents:

My blog is 70 per cent fiction and 30 per cent fact. It is written as a tool to enable my constituents to know me better and to reassure them of my commitment to Mid Bedfordshire.

As a living thing, I share at least 30 per cent genetic material with Nadine Dorries. If not more! This will reassure you of my commitment to being Nadine Dorries' daughter, both within Mid Bedfordshire and further afield.

2. Having been given birth to by Nadine Dorries

Ok, so I was not - technically -  given birth to by Nadine Dorries. But I don't think this is a serious problem! Indeed, to quote Nadine Dorries, talking about her blog in 2010:

I rely heavily on poetic licence and frequently replace one place name/event/fact with another.

In this spirit:

I was totally/ given birth to/ by Nadine Dorries/ What rhymes with Dorries?/ (Porridge)

3. Being biologically related to Nadine Dorries, in that she is my mother

If I am being completely honest: I am not in any way biologically related to Nadine Dorries, and she is not my mother.

OR IS SHE?

According to the Bedfordshire News in 2010, Nadine Dorries said she was prevented from telling the complete truth on her blog on police advice, in order to prevent unwanted attention, and to protect her staff and family.

What I'm saying is, things are not always as they seem. And sometimes, the truth is hidden for a reason.

4. Tweeting

According to the Mirror, Nadine Dorries' third daughter, Cassie, ran her mother's Twitter account during Nadine's spell in Australia  - for a £40,000 fee. For a similar reward package, I could also do this.

I hope to hear from you very soon,

Best wishes,

Martha Gill

Nadine Dorries. Photograph: Getty Images

Martha Gill writes the weekly Irrational Animals column. You can follow her on Twitter here: @Martha_Gill.

ANDREY BORODULIN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
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Letter from Donetsk: ice cream, bustling bars and missiles in eastern Ukraine

In Donetsk, which has been under the control of Russian backed rebels since April 2014, the propaganda has a hermetic, relentless feel to it.

Eighty-eight year-old Nadya Moroz stares through the taped-up window of her flat in Donetsk, blown in by persistent bombing. She wonders why she abandoned her peaceful village for a “better life” in Donetsk with her daughter, just months before war erupted in spring 2014.

Nadya is no stranger to upheaval. She was captured by the Nazis when she was 15 and sent to shovel coal in a mine in Alsace, in eastern France. When the region was liberated by the Americans, she narrowly missed a plane taking refugees to the US, and so returned empty-handed to Ukraine. She never thought that she would see fighting again.

Now she and her daughter Irina shuffle around their dilapidated flat in the front-line district of Tekstilshchik. Both physically impaired, they seldom venture out.

The highlight of the women’s day is the television series Posledniy Yanychar (“The Last Janissary”), about an Ottoman slave soldier and his dangerous love for a free Cossack girl.

They leave the dog-walking to Irina’s daughter, Galya, who comes back just in time. We turn on the TV a few minutes before two o’clock to watch a news report on Channel One, the Russian state broadcaster. It shows a montage of unnerving images: Nato tanks racing in formation across a plain, goose-stepping troops of Pravy Sektor (a right-wing Ukrainian militia) and several implicit warnings that a Western invasion is nigh. I wonder how my hosts can remain so impassive in the face of such blatant propaganda.

In Donetsk, which has been under the control of Russian-backed rebels since April 2014, the propaganda has a hermetic, relentless feel to it. If the TV doesn’t get you, the print media, radio and street hoardings will. Take a walk in the empty central district of the city and you have the creeping sense of being transported back to what it must have been like in the 1940s. Posters of Stalin, with his martial gaze and pomaded moustache, were taboo for decades even under the Soviets but now they grace the near-empty boulevards. Images of veterans of the 1941-45 war are ubiquitous, breast pockets ablaze with medals. Even the checkpoints bear the graffiti: “To Berlin!” It’s all inching closer to a theme-park re-enactment of the Soviet glory years, a weird meeting of propaganda and nostalgia.

So completely is the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in thrall to Russia that even its parliament has passed over its new flag for the tricolour of the Russian Federation, which flutters atop the building. “At least now that the municipal departments have become ministries, everyone has been promoted,” says Galya, wryly. “We’ve got to have something to be pleased about.”

The war in the Donbas – the eastern region of Ukraine that includes Donetsk and Luhansk – can be traced to the street demonstrations of 2013-14. The former president Viktor Yanukovych, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, had refused to sign an agreement that would have heralded closer integration with the EU. In late 2013, protests against his corrupt rule began in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (“Independence Square”) in Kyiv, as well as other cities. In early 2014 Yanukovych’s security forces fired on the crowds in the capital, causing dozens of fatalities, before he fled.

Putin acted swiftly, annexing Crimea and engineering a series of “anti-Maidans” across the east and south of Ukraine, bussing in “volunteers” and thugs to help shore up resistance to the new authority in Kyiv. The Russian-backed rebels consolidated their power base in Donetsk and Luhansk, where they established two “independent” republics, the DPR and its co-statelet, the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). Kyiv moved to recover the lost territories, sparking a full-scale war that raged in late 2014 and early 2015.

Despite the so-called “peace” that arrived in autumn 2015 and the beguiling feeling that a certain normality has returned – the prams, the ice creams in the park, the bustling bars – missiles still fly and small-arms fire frequently breaks out. You can’t forget the conflict for long.

One reminder is the large number of dogs roaming the streets, set free when their owners left. Even those with homes have suffered. A Yorkshire terrier in the flat next door to mine started collecting food from its bowl when the war began and storing it in hiding places around the flat. Now, whenever the shelling starts, he goes to his caches and binge-eats in a sort of atavistic canine survival ritual.

Pet shops are another indicator of the state of a society. Master Zoo in the city centre has an overabundance of tropical fish tanks (too clunky to evacuate) and no dogs. In their absence, the kennels have been filled with life-size plastic hounds under a sign strictly forbidding photography, for reasons unknown. I had to share my rented room with a pet chinchilla called Shunya. These furry Andean rodents, fragile to transport but conveniently low-maintenance, had become increasingly fashionable before the war. The city must still be full of them.

The bombing generally began “after the weekends, before holidays, Ukraine’s national days and before major agreements”, Galya had said. A new round of peace talks was about to start, and I should have my emergency bag at the ready. I shuddered back up to the ninth floor of my pitch-dark Tekstilshchik tower block. Shunya was sitting quiet and unruffled in his cage, never betraying any signs of stress. Free from Russian television, we girded ourselves for the night ahead.

This article first appeared in the 05 February 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Putin's war