Events, dear boy, events

That was the answer I gave Kate when she asked me why I thought Brexit might not happen. This was Harold Macmillan’s response when asked what he thought would most likely knock a government off course – although some dispute whether he ever actually said this.

At the time, I had wrongly attributed this to James Callaghan, having confused it with A lie can be halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on, which he said in an address to the Commons. But variations of this phrase have been around since the 18th century.

Where’s a Winston Churchill quote when you need one.