Although I don’t share the glee of Tory right-wingers, I can’t see prime minister David Cameron had any other option in Brussels but to veto EU-wide treaty changes, which would have weakened the influence of the City of London and, in time, led to an accelerating erosion of British sovereignty.
Even so it was disturbing to wake up this morning to find myself in the same camp as triumphant little Englanders like former tabloid editor Kelvin MacKenzie.
He told the Financial Times: “I am dancing with joy. Despite what’s going to happen in the future, and there will be terrible, terrible moments for us, we are an island nation, a warrior nation, and we’re best off alone.”
It’s true; the rest of Europe doesn’t get us.
Our island history has made us a breed apart; neither better nor worse, just different.
For France, Germany, and the rest, democracy is a relatively late arrival. For many countries their borders, even nationhood, is still taking root.
In Britain democracy is far from perfect but we’ve had centuries to adjust to the idea. We know it works and is tampered with at great peril to freedom.
The last time we were successfully invaded was nearly a thousand years ago in 1066 – few major continental countries can say the same.
If the original eurozone members had obeyed their own rules – which would have included Greece still waiting to join rather than threatening to bring down the whole house of cards – Europe might not be in the mess it is now.
Germany’s economic strength helped establish the single currency but concern – in Berlin as much as anywhere – about raising memories of the War meant the country was reluctant to press home the obvious conclusion – adoption of the euro must inevitably lead to closer political union.
It’s not for us, although I wonder how far Tony Blair would have taken us down the road to Brussels had not Gordon Brown had his hands around his Downing Street neighbour’s throat.