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Baby got backstop

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Congratulations. If you’re reading this then you have successfully made it to the end of the week without packing up and moving to live in a cave.

Every day we are faced with a barrage of awful news to the point that it merges into one continuous stream of chaos, leaving us feeling like we have no control. But too much is at stake, and this feeling is one we have to resist.

So let’s recap: on Tuesday the government reached new levels of incompetence (a phrase that is beginning to lose all meaning) as attorney general Geoffrey Cox was found in contempt in parliament after refusing to publish his legal advice to the government on Brexit.

I’m sure this is just a complete coincidence and the government’s attempts cover it up have nothing to do with the fact it shows they’ve been denying the true effect their deal will have on Northern Ireland.

To add to their woes, during parliament’s marathon Brexit debates – they’re like an actual marathon except with more pacemakers – Dominic Grieve passed a key amendment to Theresa May’s Brexit deal. This means that if May has to negotiate a new deal, it is amendable in parliament, increasing the chance of a public vote.

More recently there have been further forecasts of food and medicine shortages, gridlock at the border and even the possibility of dead bodies being uncollected (read that twice if you have to). This would be yet another bitter pill to swallow, that is, if there were any pills left.

Many people on Twitter this week have tried to make sense of this chaos, including some pretty spectacular flowcharts. But the truth is, no one really knows what’s going to happen, and our only job is to stand up and speak out – not just read Laura Kuenssberg’s tweets and cry into our phones.

Yesterday Jeremy Corbyn reminded readers of the Guardian that it is Labour party policy to keep the option of a public vote on the table. Remember, that was not his decision – that was the decision of Labour members and activists who demanded a LabourSay on our Brexit policy.

So, we do have control – a lot of it. Your hard work is shaping the national narrative on Brexit and it will continue to do so, as long as you’re prepared to make your voice heard.

-Joe Cox, digital assistant

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Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse for Theresa May’s government, they are now not only incompetent at governing, but in contempt of parliament. This week on the extra show Progress deputy director Stephanie Lloyd is joined by Matthew Doyle to talk about whether Geoffrey Cox will be sent to the Tower of London, May’s mathematical mistakes and how parliament can use their newfound control to forge a way out of this mess.

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Five things to read today

Brexit: can backstop ‘fiddling’ win over Tory MPs?
Laura Kuenssberg, BBC Politics

At Christmas time it’s almost impossible to be both poor and ethical
Kathleen Kerridge, Guardian

It’s the British constitution that’s in trouble – not the American one
Mary Dejevsky, Independent

When Presidents were people
Elaina Plott, Atlantic

When Tory MPs visit foodbanks
Anoosh Chakelian, New Statesman

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Stefan Rollnick

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