It’s one of the most famous stories, if not the most famous, in the English language. It’s been made into countless films, plays and TV adaptions. But for Theresa May it has a fatal flaw, the Rochdale Herald has learned.

“It’s so tragic, the way it ends,” she explained. “The way poor Ebenezer Scrooge is driven so mad by all those ghosts that he loses his marbles completely in that final chapter.”

She is referring, of course, to the end of the book where the slave-driving old miser is reformed into the most kind and generous of men.

“I have to read or watch it backwards,” she went on. “That way it has a happy ending. The mad fool starts out celebrating Christmas, then the ghosts show him the benefits of thrift, and he takes it to heart and starts running a much more efficient business.”

That’s certainly one way of looking at it. It brings to mind the Blackadder parody version of the tale, which really does start with Ebenezer Blackadder as the most generous of men, then a ghost shows up and inadvertently turns him into a grasping old Scrooge.

“It’s the only version I can watch forwards,” she said. “It’s the only version that truly captures the spirit of what Christmas is all about.”

There was no doubting the sincerity in her voice when she said it. One can only wonder what festive celebrations they get up to at her house on Christmas Day. I for one would rather not try to think about it.