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The crushing rejection of prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal by Parliament this week was hardly a surprise. Yet, despite the fact that the deal’s rejection was both predictable and predicted, the scale of the defeat still managed to shock pundits and political observers.

This has been a characteristic of the Brexit process at every stage along the way so far, observes Philip Stephens in his column. The impact has been cumulative: chapter after chapter of humiliation in a story of national shame. It is hard to see how even the damage done so far can be repaired.

Just weeks before Britain’s scheduled departure from the EU, Mrs May’s authority is broken, the opposition cannot pass a vote of no-confidence against her government, and the MPs who threw out her plan have no shared alternative. If she is to salvage anything from this week’s wreckage Mrs May must now set aside her vanity to behave as a prime minister rather than a party leader, Philip notes. Many fear she is too small a politician for the task.

Janan Ganesh posits that it is timefor America to embrace a class struggle. In a country riven along the lines of race, gender and sexuality, this fracture feel less fraught.

Marietje Schaake, a Dutch MEP,warns that Germany’s recent data hack should be a wake-up call to all Europeans, especially in the run up to the European elections in May.

Frederick Studemann discusses the unsettling problem for Europeans living in the UK who, like him, face applying for settled status in a place they already call home.

Eric Jing explains how responsible technology can transform millions of lives. The head of Ant Financial says that, by being creative, groups like his can work together to benefit the underprivileged.

David Gardner argues that by withdrawing US forces from Syria, the Trump administration is making the most consistently combustible region in the world more explosive.

What you’ve been saying

Data harvesting in the days of direct mail, letter from Marco Bueninck, Mexico City, Mexico.

After reading the article about data brokers ( “The data merchants”, FT Big Read, January 9), I think with melancholy back to the days I ran the subscription department for a renowned publisher in Amsterdam. Twice a year we sent out, all over Europe, millions of direct mail letters to sell our subscriptions. The objective was simple: increase our circulation and attract more advertisers…And yes, we got complaints from some people.

In response to, Theresa May has one last throw of the Brexit dice, Wlkrrch says:

Over the course of several decades Tories wove an entirely imaginary vision of a monstrous European tyranny out of myriad small and mostly insignificant snippets of mundane everyday bureaucratic idiocy, and as the tapestry grew the colours became more and more vivid until the keepers of the vision could compare the EU to the USSR and Nazi Germany with a straight face and without blushing.

Clarity and independence matter for British workers, letter from Simon Brewer, London, UK.

What Sunderland’s Nissan voters always suspected. Liberal amazement abounded when communities such as Sunderland voted to leave. How could they endanger their livelihoods was the question asked, frequently with derision. Perhaps they suspected that for all their hard work and professionalism, if you play with a biased referee, you will often lose, despite your best efforts.

Today’s opinion

Lex: BofA/Goldman Sachs: dove tail risk
Shareholders worry that a slowing US economy will stall banks’ profit expansion

Lex: DSV/Panalpina: easy ascent
Analysts note higher savings are possible, suggesting Swiss group’s suitor could pay more

Lex: Brexit crisis/gilts: sound despite fury
The odds are surely narrowing that the UK remains in the EU

FT Magazine: Legalising marijuana in the US: the economic highs (and lows)
Wall Street is rushing into a field already worth an estimated $10bn

Lex: Santander/Orcel: no we cannot
Spanish bank may have dodged a bullet over lost pay from UBS

Brexit: the unsettling business of applying for ‘settled status’
UK government is forcing a choice that many of us never wanted to make

Lex: Reckitt Benckiser/Rakesh Kapoor: brand groupie
Replacing admirable chief Rakesh Kapoor will be tough

Time for America to embrace the class struggle
This faultline feels less fraught than rifts over race, gender and sexuality

Responsible technology can transform millions of lives
By being creative, groups can work together to benefit the world’s underprivileged

Dear Jonathan: I am 67: how do I sell my age and experience to an employer?
Your questions for our expert — and readers’ advice

Germany’s data hack is a wake-up call to Europe
The digital security of all in the political system must be tightened ahead of elections

FT Alphaville: America has never worried about financing its priorities

Theresa May has one last throw of the Brexit dice
She should set aside her vanity and behave as a prime minister not a party leader

US withdrawal from Syria will remove restraints
Trump is making the most consistently combustible region in the world more explosive

Frequent flyer: Herb Kelleher and compassion in the air
In the joyless business of flying, airline staff are our allies, not our enemies

Free Lunch: Theresa May is a lightning rod for Brexit denials
Defeat of withdrawal deal does not change realities confronting the UK

The Art of Persuasion: Theresa May’s speech could not persuade the unpersuadable
The prime minister deployed clever rhetorical tricks but her appeal to MPs was doomed

Supporting animal charities can be far more than a pet project
Cats and dogs command huge donations — but other causes may deliver more lasting good

FT Magazine: Open-plan offices: time to bring back the cubicle?
‘From Reddit to Apple, tech offices all share an antipathy towards walls’

Cleaning up: the peculiar power of Marie Kondo
Not everyone is bewitched by the decluttering guru — but she’s done wonders for my drawers

New investors: don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions
For beginners, the world of investment is a minefield of jargon

FTfm: Big data to boost prospects for female star managers

FT Alphaville: Was AMLOve just EM investors’ summer fling?

Markets Insight: Why this year won’t be a rerun of 2016 for emerging markets
Policymakers will be mindful of the risk of fear feeding on itself

Lex: Provident Financial: tight rope act
FCA’s crackdown must also balance out needs of those at lower end of credit spectrum

Instant Insight: Theresa May’s drubbing points to a Brexit delay
A soft exit from the EU now looks more likely

Lombard: Online retailer Boohoo.com cheers up after Asos sales upset
Results stand in contrast to online rivals but investors should keep eye on certain metrics

FT View

The FT View: Theresa May must put country before party to fix Brexit
A non-partisan approach is needed to avoid the chaos of a no-deal exit from the EU

The FT View: Tragic murder in Gdansk is a warning for Europe
Pawel Adamowicz had become a symbol of tolerant liberalism

The Big Read

The Big Read: Spain wrestles with a private equity boom
Crisis-era reforms have made it a target for investors looking to cut costs — and jobs

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