A few weeks from now, it will be 40 years since Edward Heath signed the Treaty of Accession that sealed Britain’s membership of the European Community, the ancestor of today’s European Union.

When Sailor Ted was scrawling his signature that day in January 1972, Europe seemed the future. It represented international brotherhood, peaceful idealism and the triumph of the free market. Centuries of splendid aloofness were over, and Britain was part of one big happy family.

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