And so it has come to this. Just over a year ago, President George W Bush, in his premature announcement of victory, stated that "there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves" in Iraq.
The European Union has always been an elite project. This was so from its earliest postwar beginnings, when the rule of cool, rational technocrats seemed infinitely preferable to the hot-blooded mass movements led by Hitler and Mussolini.
Those who opposed the invasion of Iraq have been proved right in almost every respect. Far from Saddam Hussein being ready to launch WMDs against the west, he had no such weapons.
The latest tangle over immigration is a telling illustration of new Labour's two greatest weaknesses: its anxiety to please business and its wish simultaneously to placate popular prejudice as expressed mainly by the Daily Mail and the Sun.