Monday 12 November 2018

Sinking ships

Apparently, the idea that rats can sense when a house is about to fall down, or a ship about to sink, and therefore get out before the disaster, goes back at least four centuries.  I don’t know whether rodents can really sense a forthcoming disaster or not; anecdotal evidence isn’t the same thing as scientific proof.  What we do know is that, in the earliest days of the use of the analogy, the context was very often political. 
And that brings me to today’s report from the BBC that the now infamous agreement made by the Cabinet in Chequers in July may have been stretching the meaning of the word ‘agreement’ rather further than was thought at the time.  Perhaps they weren’t all as convinced then as they are now that this particular ship is doomed, but the fact that they are now leaking their concerns is evidence that many of them are pretty well-convinced by now and are retrospectively making it clear that this was never their idea of a good plan.
The only surprising thing is that so many of them are still on board at all.  It's not the behaviour that the adage would suggest that we should expect.

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