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.

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Hannan Fodder: This week, Daniel Hannan gets his excuses in early

I didn't do it. 

Since Daniel Hannan, a formerly obscure MEP, has emerged as the anointed intellectual of the Brexit elite, The Staggers is charting his ascendancy...

When I started this column, there were some nay-sayers talking Britain down by doubting that I was seriously going to write about Daniel Hannan every week. Surely no one could be that obsessed with the activities of one obscure MEP? And surely no politician could say enough ludicrous things to be worthy of such an obsession?

They were wrong, on both counts. Daniel and I are as one on this: Leave and Remain, working hand in glove to deliver on our shared national mission. There’s a lesson there for my fellow Remoaners, I’m sure.

Anyway. It’s week three, and just as I was worrying what I might write this week, Dan has ridden to the rescue by writing not one but two columns making the same argument – using, indeed, many of the exact same phrases (“not a club, but a protection racket”). Like all the most effective political campaigns, Dan has a message of the week.

First up, on Monday, there was this headline, in the conservative American journal, the Washington Examiner:

“Why Brexit should work out for everyone”

And yesterday, there was his column on Conservative Home:

“We will get a good deal – because rational self-interest will overcome the Eurocrats’ fury”

The message of the two columns is straightforward: cooler heads will prevail. Britain wants an amicable separation. The EU needs Britain’s military strength and budget contributions, and both sides want to keep the single market intact.

The Con Home piece makes the further argument that it’s only the Eurocrats who want to be hardline about this. National governments – who have to answer to actual electorates – will be more willing to negotiate.

And so, for all the bluster now, Theresa May and Donald Tusk will be skipping through a meadow, arm in arm, before the year is out.

Before we go any further, I have a confession: I found myself nodding along with some of this. Yes, of course it’s in nobody’s interests to create unnecessary enmity between Britain and the continent. Of course no one will want to crash the economy. Of course.

I’ve been told by friends on the centre-right that Hannan has a compelling, faintly hypnotic quality when he speaks and, in retrospect, this brief moment of finding myself half-agreeing with him scares the living shit out of me. So from this point on, I’d like everyone to keep an eye on me in case I start going weird, and to give me a sharp whack round the back of the head if you ever catch me starting a tweet with the word, “Friends-”.

Anyway. Shortly after reading things, reality began to dawn for me in a way it apparently hasn’t for Daniel Hannan, and I began cataloguing the ways in which his argument is stupid.

Problem number one: Remarkably for a man who’s been in the European Parliament for nearly two decades, he’s misunderstood the EU. He notes that “deeper integration can be more like a religious dogma than a political creed”, but entirely misses the reason for this. For many Europeans, especially those from countries which didn’t have as much fun in the Second World War as Britain did, the EU, for all its myriad flaws, is something to which they feel an emotional attachment: not their country, but not something entirely separate from it either.

Consequently, it’s neither a club, nor a “protection racket”: it’s more akin to a family. A rational and sensible Brexit will be difficult for the exact same reasons that so few divorcing couples rationally agree not to bother wasting money on lawyers: because the very act of leaving feels like a betrayal.

Or, to put it more concisely, courtesy of Buzzfeed’s Marie Le Conte:

Problem number two: even if everyone was to negotiate purely in terms of rational interest, our interests are not the same. The over-riding goal of German policy for decades has been to hold the EU together, even if that creates other problems. (Exhibit A: Greece.) So there’s at least a chance that the German leadership will genuinely see deterring more departures as more important than mutual prosperity or a good relationship with Britain.

And France, whose presidential candidates are lining up to give Britain a kicking, is mysteriously not mentioned anywhere in either of Daniel’s columns, presumably because doing so would undermine his argument.

So – the list of priorities Hannan describes may look rational from a British perspective. Unfortunately, though, the people on the other side of the negotiating table won’t have a British perspective.

Problem number three is this line from the Con Home piece:

“Might it truly be more interested in deterring states from leaving than in promoting the welfare of its peoples? If so, there surely can be no further doubt that we were right to opt out.”

If there any rhetorical technique more skin-crawlingly horrible, than, “Your response to my behaviour justifies my behaviour”?

I could go on, about how there’s no reason to think that Daniel’s relatively gentle vision of Brexit is shared by Nigel Farage, UKIP, or a significant number of those who voted Leave. Or about the polls which show that, far from the EU’s response to the referendum pushing more European nations towards the door, support for the union has actually spiked since the referendum – that Britain has become not a beacon of hope but a cautionary tale.

But I’m running out of words, and there’ll be other chances to explore such things. So instead I’m going to end on this:

Hannan’s argument – that only an irrational Europe would not deliver a good Brexit – is remarkably, parodically self-serving. It allows him to believe that, if Brexit goes horribly wrong, well, it must all be the fault of those inflexible Eurocrats, mustn’t it? It can’t possibly be because Brexit was a bad idea in the first place, or because liberal Leavers used nasty, populist ones to achieve their goals.

Read today, there are elements of Hannan’s columns that are compelling, even persuasive. From the perspective of 2020, I fear, they might simply read like one long explanation of why nothing that has happened since will have been his fault.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.