Those who view Britain’s departure from the European Union as the dawn of a new Golden Age are convinced that with the launch of the good ship Royal Sovereign on April 1 we will rediscover the dynamism and drive that for centuries made us one of the greatest trading nations in history.

And they may be right. With Liam Fox, David Davis and Boris Johnson leading the charge, what could possibly go wrong?

But what if the UK has decided to retire and draw its pension? Nations, like individuals, grow old and tired, which is why no country ever remains Number One for more than a certain time. In consideration of the bright future promised us by Leave, in which Britain is pumped up with energy and pride, it is worth remembering that the past really was another country. We did things differently then that we would never get away with today.

Buccaneering Britain, initially as England, has a long pedigree.