“This is going to be a fantastic year for Britain”, tweeted Boris Johnson on January 2 2020. This was accompanied by a photo of the PM doing a big thumbs up to camera. The photo and the message attached have now become a popular meme that occasionally does the rounds on Twitter (comparable to the David Cameron “chaos with Ed Miliband” tweet in the run-up to the General Election of 2015 that reappeared after he lost his Brexit bet on backing Remain).

“Boris did not quite make himself such a hostage to fortune as Pitt the Younger when, in February 1792, he declared: “Unquestionably there never was a time in the history of this country when from the situation of Europe we might more reasonably expect fifteen years of peace than at the present moment.” Cue the aftermath of the French Revolution, The Terror and an era of total war…