The panes were blind with showers. A fire had been lit in the drawing room – in August – accompanied by a heartening red. There was no nonsense about a light summer white on this August day. Warmed by flames and glasses, the talk settled into a very Tory rhythm: eupeptic pessimism.I apologised for using two phrases which I have repeated far too often. But I find it impossible to discuss geopolitics without falling back on them. They both sprang from the troubled Ireland of great hatred, little room. The first is Yeats: ‘The best lack all conviction; the worst are full of passionate intensity.’ The second, Sean O’Casey: The whole world’s in a terrible state o’chassis [chaos].’

So it is.