A QUIET week. Just the one leadership election, a fall in the pound, and a parliamentary crisis or two. The UK is increasingly living up to the title David Cameron once gave it, that of “Broken Britain”.
What the former PM and EU referendum pusher failed to mention was that he was the chap who was going to break it. But let us not dig over old grievances, particularly since there are so many new ones available. There is only one way out of this mess now, and that is to call for nanny.
You may have noticed there is a lot of them around at the moment. Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel to the 1964 original starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, flies into cinemas next Friday. Emma Thompson is putting together a Nanny McPhee musical, and Mrs Doubtfire is reportedly heading for Broadway.
As everyone who has seen the first Mary Poppins knows, the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Miss P turns up at a time of crisis. She is the spoonful of sugar who can transform a sour situation, the dab of Savlon on a skinned knee, the cool kiss on a fevered forehead. Nanny not only knows best, she also makes everything better.
Ask Jacob Rees-Mogg. He is so fond of his nanny, Veronica Crook, he asked her to stay on and look after his children. Besides caring for the now six-strong Rees-Mogg brood, including standing up for them when a Class War activist hectored the children over what he saw as the political sins of their father, she has helped the Tory MP in his political career. It was to nanny that Rees-Mogg turned when he wanted someone to go campaigning with him in Central Fife in 1997. To no-one’s surprise, he lost. Doubtless nanny had some soothing words for that occasion, something along the lines of “Get yourself down south asap, you silly clot.”
Who knows, it might have been nanny Crook who was the driving force behind the Brexiteers’ effort to oust Theresa May. One can see her now, moving pieces around the kitchen table like a general plotting a military offensive. Telling Boris where to go, in every sense. Urging her old charge Jacob to pull his socks up and stop looking so petulant. Reading Dominic Raab the riot act. 
For Rees-Mogg, nanny is irreplaceable. “I hear her telling them things she used to tell me,” he once said. “She reminds them of the post-war rationing. So if they have great dollops of butter on their toast, she says that would have been a week's ration. I love that, the historic continuity that you get.” Who wouldn’t?
The rich and posh would never dream of running around after their own children, and are perfectly willing to pay the right person whatever she – and it is mostly she – wants. Own flat within the home, paid holidays, good wage, free board, all available to the right candidate.
One might think it is every parent’s dream to have a nanny on hand in the home. No more frantic searches for last minute childcare. Picking the children up and dropping them off, laundry, cooking, dealing with tantrums – every task someone else’s responsibility. For women it would be like having one of those fantastic whatchamacallits. No, not a robot. A wife.
Then again, would you really want a stranger around all the time? Worse, someone who is a professional at looking after children, who has trained, often for years, to do the job? Think of the shame as your amateur, bumbling efforts come under the beady eye of nanny. Just as every dog trainer knows the problem with an animal usually stems from the owner, so nannies appreciate that changing parental attitudes is half the battle.
No nannies, then, for ordinary bods. Or for so-called Broken Britain. Britain, or the UK, is doing just fine; it is Tory MPs who need whipping into shape by a nanny. 
Not literally, that would be illegal (and worse, some might like it), but if someone down there could start administering the smack of firm government it would be most appreciated, not least by Mrs May.


WELL done Borris the Cavalier King Charles spaniel from Kent, named slimmer of the year this week by the charity PDSA.
The pooch lost just over a stone over six months by eating well and taking exercise.  Another Boris, this one with a single "R", has also been losing weight. The former Foreign Secretary has dropped 12lbs of unsightly blubber, though we really should not speak of his Brexit chums so rudely.
The Tory MP is delighted by this result at least. “My sight is keener, the days seem longer and more full of interest. If things go on like this I could be less than 15 stone by Christmas.” That would be the lightest the 54-year-old has been since university.
It is not just his weight that Boris has been sorting out. He has a new haircut, too, as noted by the deputy chair of the Conservatives, James Cleverly MP.
 Speaking to the FT, Mr Cleverly called it a "leadership haircut" and said the busy Brexiteer had wasted his money.  “That’s £7.50 he’ll never get back," he quipped. Cutting. 


WHAT does Donald Trump do after he pulls a cracker? Pays her off. No, I’m not starting a new career as a Noughties Bernadette Manning, but merely passing on one of the top 15 cracker “jokes” this festive season.
One person guaranteed not to laugh at the Trump joke is Michael Cohen, the US President’s former lawyer. He was sentenced this week to three years for, among other things, making "hush money" payments to women who alleged they had had affairs with Mr Trump. The President has denied the affair claims, denied directing Cohen to break the law, and called the payments, amounting to some $280,000, “simple private transactions”.
Cohen, dismissed by the President as “weak”, was determined not to go quietly. “It was my blind loyalty to this man that lead me to take a path of darkness instead of light,” he told a Manhattan court. 
Would it be very wrong to remind Mr C of a tweet he sent three years ago? “@HillaryClinton when you go to prison for defrauding America and perjury, your room and board will be free!” Now that’s a cracker.


AS I stood there, covered in dust, bleeding money, and cursing the day I ever heard the word “extension”, a (male) builder told me that having work done on a house was a bit like childbirth. Everybody said they would never do it again, but they did. Time wipes the memory and all that.
An attack of amnesia is the only way I can explain the madness afoot after a forecast of snow this weekend. “Let it snow!” one newspaper headline cried joyfully. 
Four words, people. Beast. From. The. East. Has everyone forgotten the sheer misery that descended on this nation last March? Far from frolicking in winter perishing wonderlands, thousands were trapped at home with their families for days on end, unable to go to work. It was just like Christmas, but sober. The horror, the horror. 
So please, boys and girls, stop gazing skywards in a cute fashion, hoping for snow and ice. You don’t want Santa ending up in a long queue at A&E with the rest of the broken arm brigade, do you?
Merry Christmas.