The UK and Europe is another thing however. Our history together is much more complex. The UK politically has tended to see Europe as a sort of mess, in which we intervene from time to time to sort it out – Napoleon, the Kaiser, Hitler etc. Building the EU was Europe’s attempt to move on from its past, which the UK at first sadly declined to join, then did so, after a few rebuffs from France. Some in the UK never accepted the relationship created, and argued for a UK outside the EU. But this argument was mostly expressed in hostility to the EU, and forms the background to the negotiations we must have following the referendum. It is not a good background, and is the second sort of relationship I mentioned above.

But suppose there was another way of looking at things? For the first time in recent political history those who, like me, support the EU, and want to see it prosper, now have to accept that the UK will be outside it. Suppose we start to draw up that relationship, from a point of view not of hostility, but from a position where we want both a successful UK and a successful and stronger EU? Trying to put the genie of the Referendum back in the bottle will not work. If we aim for a relationship which is not reluctantly accepted by a bare majority of people, but welcomed by a large majority, is this not worth thinking through and creating?

I think this is a more positive way to approach a new relationship with our neighbours. I will keep you posted with how it is going as we navigate Brexit.