Political correspondents come back from their long-range patrols of the Kildare Street jungle with thousand-yard stares and wearing necklaces made of ears – the ears of the nameless politicians who confide in them. They know where this is going.

The present stalemate in Leinster House has a grim historical precedent. From September 1939 to June 1940 the armies of western Europe faced each ot(...)