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“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death,” the great Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once said, before adding: “I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” And on Wednesday evening, after Theresa May’s government had faced down a motion of no confidence, we got fresh evidence that Shankly’s observation is a widely held view.
After two days of turmoil in the House of Commons over Brexit, it was announced that the prime minister would make an impromptu address to the nation outside the famous door of No. 10 Downing Street at 10pm—so that it could be screened live on the BBC’s Ten O’clock News. The rumour mill swung into action. Was she about to resign? Was she about to call a general election? What was she about to say that could impact on the lives of millions of people?