The Republicans in the US Congress seem set to take the US budget deficit up to the wire on 17 October.
And possibly beyond, to the point where the US government not only sends workers home unpaid, but fails to pay its bills. If president Obama and the Democrats campaigned boldly for the principle of universal health insurance — which is what the Republicans want to destroy — then the Republicans could not get away with it. Or even if the Democrats were bold about using unusual financial expedients.
But the chief political lesson is on how politicians who are militant and determined can use legislative assemblies to do much more than the usual point-scoring or polite opposition. The tactic of deliberate parliamentary obstruction was pioneered in Britain, by Irish nationalist MPs led by Charles Stuart Parnell in the 1870s and 1880s, when all Ireland was ruled by Britain. Their activity helped win many concessions for Ireland, including, eventually, the principle of Home Rule.
Labour should follow that model.