After reading Geoff's post yesterday on "it sleeps obedience", I'm thinking that this might be a deliberately shortened version of the snowclone "X eats, drinks, and sleeps Y", which generally means that all X does is (related to) Y. The first page of ghits for "eats, drinks, and sleeps" displays some typical examples.
From the Tom Paine of two hundred years ago? The OED doesn't mention the "eats, drinks, and sleeps" construction under any of the verbs, which to me says it's recent
Somehow, I missed that it was a Paine quote. Thanks for the correction, Aidan -- that's what I get for posting before coffee. ]
The shortened version "it sleeps obedience" indicates to me both the sense of the full snowclone that all "it" (parliament) does is to obey, and also that it does so completely passively (like sleeping), not actively (like eating and drinking), due to the PM's "opium wand".
[ Comments? ]Posted by Eric Bakovic at November 14, 2005 06:43 AM