In the episode The Writing on the Wall, Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby patiently explains to minister Jim Hacker precisely why Britain has such a vexed relationship with the EU.
“Minister, Britain has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last five hundred years: to create a disunited Europe,” he says. “In that cause we have fought with the Dutch against the Spanish, with the Germans against the French, with the French and Italians against the Germans, and with the French against the Germans and Italians. Divide and rule, you see. Why should we change now, when it’s worked so well?”
Why is this relevant to today’s result? Well…
“We had to break the whole thing up, so we had to get inside. We tried to break it up from the outside, but that wouldn’t work. Now that we’re inside we can make a complete pig’s breakfast of the whole thing.”