A British girl has asked to come home. We must meet our responsibility to her

Shamima Begum’s disturbing case holds a mirror up to a weak, vengeful Britain, as opposed to the strong, tolerant and humane society we could be Imagine this: a British teenage girl is groomed online at the age of 15. Stay with her nationality for a moment. She is British. She is indoctrinated by one of the world’s most brutal terrorist cults and within 10 days of fleeing her home country is married to an extremist fighter. Stay with her age for a moment. She is 15. Four years later, two of her children have died and she has escaped across the desert, nine months pregnant, to a refugee camp. There, aged 19, she gives birth. And now she is asking to come home. Remove the inflammatory dog-whistle references to Isis brides and jihadi runaways and how much more likely is Shamima Begum to incite our pity and mercy? How much more likely are we to prioritise our duty of care to her as a British citizen? To treat the question of whether she poses a terrorist threat as one to be settled by the rule of law rather than trial by tabloid? Continue reading… [hmp_player]

First daughters’ club: Chelsea and Jenna rush to Malia’s rescue – while Ivanka stays silent

The offspring of former presidents share an uncommon bond that crosses political lines. So when the knives came out for Malia, most of them rallied round Think “wild girls-only weekend” and a bottle of wine split between four people is hardly what comes to mind. But that’s what the Daily Mail is suggesting as former first daughter Malia Obama enjoys a Miami getaway with friends – publishing paparazzi shots (and a short video) of her on a poolside sun lounger, clutching a bottle of Whispering Angel rosé. The coverage of a 20-year-old “drinking wine all day” – glugging a tipple that costs $80 (£60) on the resort’s wine list (£17.99 at Waitrose, Malia!) – has emboldened Trump supporters to condemn Obama’s bare-faced law-breaking as “privileged and #illegal”. “Living like the 1%? Drinking underage? Let’s see the #democrats and media scream about “privilege” here …” tweeted conservative talkshow host Andrew Wilkow ominously. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Virginie Viard: Karl Lagerfeld’s trusted collaborator takes the spotlight

The late fashion designer has kept Viard at his side for decades. Now, it appears she has been tasked with keeping his legacy going Back in October, at the close of his Chanel spring/summer 2019 show, Karl Lagerfeld appeared for his traditional post-show bow, hand-in-hand with a tall brunette. Nowhere near as recognisable as the world-famous man standing beside her, nor even a frequently used name in fashion circles, the woman – dressed in an outfit of understated jeans and a denim jacket, with a Brigitte Bardot fringe – applauded adoringly as Lagerfeld took what would be his final applause from a rapturous audience. To those in the know, Lagerfeld’s companion was the seldom seen Virginie Viard, his most trusted aide and protege – or, as Chanel put it, “his closest collaborator”. While her name may not ring the same bells as Lagerfeld or the house’s founder, Coco Chanel, those on the inside will attest that she has been integral to the house’s continued success. Lagerfeld once described their relationship as “essential, doubled by a very real friendship and affection” and said it was he, Viard and two others who ran the fashion chain. Related: Karl Lagerfeld obituary Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Does every box of eggs contain a potential chick?

A schoolboy has hatched a duckling from a Waitrose egg using an incubator he bought on eBay. It’s enough to put anyone off their boiled egg and soldiers … Fourteen-year-old William Atkins has put the cat among the pigeons – or perhaps the fox among the ducklings. He wanted to know if it was possible to hatch a supermarket egg, so he bought an incubator on eBay for £40 and half a dozen free-range duck eggs from Waitrose. Three days later, when he shone a torch on to one of the eggs, he was amazed to see a beating heart; three weeks later the egg started to rock; and then, 28 days on from the start of his experiment, a duckling hatched. This is very nice news for William and Jeremy, the duckling, but a little worrying for the egg industry. “People have a dual relationship with eggs,” says Mark Diacono, the author of The Chicken & Eggs River Cottage Handbook. “They love to eat them, but don’t want to think too hard about what they actually are.” Which, he says, is part of the female reproductive cycle. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Should every worker have a 75-minute lunch break?

MPs have recommended the optimal breaktime for schoolchildren – and it could make adults happier, healthier and more productive, too Schoolchildren should have at least 75 minutes of breaktime every day, say a group of MPs. Most schools, according to a report by the all-party parliamentary group on a fit and healthy childhood, have cut lunch and breaktimes, which has a negative impact on pupils’ concentration, health and social skills. This begs a question: if children need more than an hour of downtime a day, what about us adults? The amount of time people take as breaks during the working day seems to be going down. If we do have some time off, it is for lunch. But that is often spent eating a sandwich at our desk, catching up on work. If we are lucky, we get a “working lunch” – an unholy mashup of a meeting and a lunch hour. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Karl Lagerfeld sent me 50 roses – I don’t think he’d ever met a large Brummie

I interviewed the designer while making a TV show about Chanel. We no doubt made an odd pair, but we got on rather well Many years ago, I made a film for the Money Programme about Chanel. We were taken by a fragrant phalanx of PR people to Coco Chanel’s apartment just off the Place Vendôme in Paris. We were told it was exactly how Mademoiselle, as they always referred to her, had left it. Her spectacles were lying there on a little desk. It felt as if we were at the still-beating heart of a personality cult. Later on, we had an interview booked nearby with the great Karl Lagerfeld. He was fashionably late, and then unfashionably late and then, as the hours passed, the eternal wait came to feel rather fashionable all over again. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

I’ve always worked in nurseries. How do I get a ‘grown-up’ job?

Have you got a work-related problem? In this series we invite you to send in a short description of your predicament – so that other readers can offer solutions I qualified as a nursery nurse almost 10 years ago. I knew it was never going to make me rich, but I enjoyed it at the time. Now I’m almost 29 and I worry that I won’t ever be hired to do anything else. I have excellent transferrable skills (near-infinite patience, ability to multitask, keep written and electronic records, deal with people from all walks of life, calm under pressure, and more) but all my CV is about jobs in childcare. I love some of the children in my care, but I’m approaching my 30s and I no longer want to pretend all day. I’m tired of saying “Mmm” to the plastic food that’s shoved my way and tired of dealing with petty squabbles. I’d like to move on, but am worried employers will see I’ve done no work within an “adult” sector of the workforce and pass me over. • When leaving a message on this page, please be sensitive to the fact that you are responding to a real person in the grip of a real-life dilemma, who wrote to Working It Out asking for help, and may well view your comments here. Continue reading… [hmp_player]