The pattern is well-established. The EU’s chief negotiator makes a robust declaration and ultra-remainers leap on it, as though Michel Barnier is the oracle and not a key participant on one side of the negotiations with a vested interest.

This week the process was repeated when Barnier declared that it was impossible for financial services to be included in a free trade agreement between the European Union and the UK. The City is stuffed and the Brits were presented as naive, hopeless, silly optimists for suggesting that a deal  is possible. The response was predictable in ultra-Remain land. Look! Barnier has really stuck it to the deluded British! The City will never get a deal. Financial services cannot be included in an agreement on the future relationship! We are doomed because of Brexit, part 93.

I have explored the potential future of the City after Brexit in my latest column for The Times, and sought to explain why the doom merchants are wrong and another serving of compromise with a side order of fudge is the best solution all round.

But what’s this? My colleague at The Times Raphael Hogarth spotted a speech made by, er, Michel Barnier in 2014 in Washington when he was EU Commissioner responsible for the internal market and services.

The EU and the US were then under Obama negotiating TTIP, the mooted free trade deal which was scuppered by the 2016 US Presidential election and the election of Donald Trump.

Under the heading, “Why we need to include financial service regulation in TTIP”, Barnier said in 2014: “Joined-up markets need joined-up regulation and supervision. The EU and the US agree on the overall objectives of sound and resilient banks and financial markets. But we have and will keep different regulatory procedures and frameworks.”

Barnier then issued a tremendous rallying cry for compromise and cooperation:

“We need to do more to make these regulatory systems work together. Identify differences and eliminate them where possible, or at least mitigate any detrimental consequences they may have. It would be nothing short of a disaster if our agreements on broad principles are undermined by the detailed rules and their implementation being just too different. This is why we want to include regulatory cooperation on financial services in the TTIP.”

He concluded: “Don’t get me wrong, I am not naïve. We will of course never agree on everything and neither jurisdiction should be able to force the other to follow its rules. But we can try harder and we could do better.”

We will never agree on everything… neither jurisdiction should be able to force the other to follow its rules…

Now Barnier says such agreement is impossible with the UK, a close neighbour and host to the largest capital market in Europe by far. Speaking to MPs this week, the Governor of the Bank of England disagreed sensibly with Barnier, pointing out that just because something has not been done before does not mean it cannot be done. How would anything new in human history ever got done otherwise? The Financial Times even had a leader this week – a brilliant leader – sticking it to Barnier and pointing out that the French are at it on the City, which they are.

This underlines a positive shift of late in the direction of realism and compromise. The move to Brexit talks phase two, engineered by the UK civil service and Brussels with German help, changed the terms of debate but some people run ragged by the hysteria of the last 18 months are still struggling to process what it means. There can be a sensible deal involving compromises, if the bed-wetters on both sides (hardline Brexiteers and the moonbat Stop Brexit crowd) don’t get in the way.