Things are never about what they’re about.

On Wednesday evening, The Times ran a story in its online edition about the emergence in Europe of a new Franco-German “superpower,” hinting at the creation sometime in the next few years of a combined army that would be the model for a European version of Nato. By one minute after midnight (appropriately), the headline had changed to “Paris and Berlin herald new era of integration”.

Neither seems to me to quite catch the insignificance of what is happening. President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany are prisoners not only of the reduced political circumstances in which they find themselves, but also of their pre-arranged diplomatic calendar.