Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they must first make leader of the Conservative party. Of the last ten Tory leaders, including Ted Heath, only two  – William Hague and Michael Howard – left office at a moment of their own choosing. The rest either succumbed to Europe or were assassinated by their colleagues. Statistically, apart from the executioner’s axe, it was safer being one of Henry VIII’s wives.

Labour leaders have an easier life, with one spectacular exception. In electoral terms, Tony Blair was easily the most successful leader his party has ever had. Yet they never warmed to him. There is indeed an analogy with the EU. In each case, there was transplant surgery. A large new organ was implanted in an old body politic. In both cases, there was an assumption that everything would settle down, and that the dosage of immuno-suppressant drugs could be steadily reduced. In neither case did that happen. The rejection mechanism was never overcome.