Imagine if in 1939 we'd heard
"I have today sent Lord Halifax to Berlin to negotiate terms with the German government. We are only a small island, and my government is unable to carry the burden of opposing the might of Nazi Europe. If we negotiate, we may be allowed to retain some vestige of democracy and our ceremonial traditions; if we do not, we risk being run by facsimile diktat from Berlin, without any freedom of action whatsoever.
All naval, military and airborne units of His Majesty's armed forces are hereby instructed to offer no resistance to the forces of the German Empire, to lay down their arms and place themselves at the disposal of the occupying power.
I'm very sorry, but my government just aren't up to the job of leading the nation down any other path. Giving in is the least bothersome option, and we stand a good chance of keeping our weekends free."
Do you really imagine we'd have stood for it, or would Chamberlain have found himself hoisted up the nearest lamp-post? And how different would our reaction be today?
Come to that, imagine that in 2010 Herr Von Rumpy had advised us in advance of the election
"Brown was a great Prime Minister of Britain. I hope the policies he put in place will continue after the election"
Substitute 'Monti' for 'Brown' and 'Italy' for 'Britain' and that's exactly what he's just told the Italians. They seem quiescent. And sadly, as much as I'd like to think that had he said it here the EU Headquarters in Smith Square would have been ablaze, I'm pretty sure that apart from some huffing and puffing he'd have got away with it.