In the first series of TV comedy Yes Minister, permanent secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby, played so well by Nigel Hawthorne, explained to minister Jim Hacker, that Britain (he meant England) had had the same foreign policy objective for at least the past 500 years – a disunited Europe.
We’ve fought with the Dutch against the Spanish, with the Germans and Dutch against the French, with the French and Italians against the Germans ,and with the French against the Germans and Italians.
Hacker asked: “Aren’t the Foreign Office pro Europe?”
The reply was: “Oh Minister, really. We had to get inside to make a real pig’s breakfast of it and break the whole thing up. The Foreign Office are terribly pleased. It’s all going so well.”
These words were written by Douglas Jay, a former Labour Cabinet minister from the Wilson era, father-in-law of Baroness Jay, Jim Callaghan’s daughter.
Now many French people want to come out of the EU too following our Government’s attitude towards the referendum result and our renegotiation.