rsula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, was elegant and thoughtful in pricing estimate Shakespeare as Britain’s membership of the European job concerned its useful end. “Parting is such sweet sorrow,” she stated.

The German politician looked and sounded sad, as did Michel Barnier, the EU’s skillful chief mediator. Boris Johnson, by contrast, tweeted an image of himself with his arms in the air as if England had just won the World Cup. That is not how a good half of his fellow citizens, if not more, feel about this unwanted Christmas present.

The relief that a deal has at last got here should not camouflage this moment of national self-harm. As Mr Barnier reminded us, the unhappiness for Britain and for the rest of Europe is to compare what lies in front people with the unlimited freedoms to work, study and trade that existed for the majority of the past half-century.