As people fight in the aisles of Tescos over the last jar of Marmite with rolled-up copies of The Daily Express, Nick Cohen reminds us what happens to executives who pick a fight with parliament and lose.
All the government’s bombast flows from the relatively quiet economic summer we had after the Brexit vote. Like George W. Bush, when he declared ‘mission accomplished’ after the Americans rolled into Baghdad in 2003, cocksure Tories are full of-unwarranted self-confidence. It will shatter if the pound keeps heading for parity with the euro, and a nation with huge sovereign debts finds that the Treasury’s predictions of the tax take slumping are accurate. If jobs start going, if inflation and the national debt start rising, if the bond markets turn ugly, voters will demand that MPs intervene, and the sensible majority in Parliament will be only too pleased to oblige. May will then learn that, for all our faults, we are a parliamentary democracy, and that politicians who treat parliament like Charles I risk meeting the fate of Charles I.
I would hope he’s talking metaphorically rather than literally here. But the events of the past six months are a reminder of why show trials and public executions were a feature of less elightened times.