This endless crisis has led to widespread criticism of British politicians of all hues, some of it justified. I find it deeply distasteful to see very senior Conservatives plotting with the opposition to bring down the prime minister. But far less criticism has been leveled at the EU itself — which is odd, because Brussels is the cause of our agonies, past and present. The Brexit vote would have gone the other way if it had had the wit to give David Cameron the concessions he begged for. But that is not the nature of the EU imperial class. They intended to send a message: Brussels does not respond to democratic pressure. The British public got that message, and voted to leave.

The EU should have been dismayed over the loss of its oldest democracy and its second largest contributor. Our Brexit vote was a stunning indictment of the way the EU has been run: we asked it to reform, it refused; it dared us to vote to leave and we did. But rather than learn lessons and negotiate Brexit in good faith, it deployed the kind of cynicism exposed in the BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary Brexit: Behind Closed Doors, in which we hear private conversations between the EU negotiators, who are clearly determined to delay and give nothing to the British negotiators whom they mock.