The EU got the negotiations disastrously wrong from the start. Their cause was crippled not by the UK but by the territorial in-fighting between the Parliament and the unelected officials of the Commission. Herr Verhofstadt, who would have loved nothing more than to have faced the hated Brits across the table himself, only consented to Herr Barnier taking this place if he was constrained not to depart from the EP's detailed instructions by a millimetre. And instead of keeping this crippling disability secret, Herr Verhofstadt rose to his hind feet and crowed it all over Europe.
The EU assumed of course that their usual Panzer tactics would work; first they ridicule, undermine and insult us, then wear us down with verbiage and papers, all the time proclaiming that only they have control of the agenda and the UK must obey like a recalcitrant schoolboy. Boy, how little they know us.
This week it was time for the UK to tell the king he was wearing no clothes. The Berlaymont bullies sat gobsmacked with hanging jaws as some young Treasury rasper with an Oxbridge double first completely demolished the legal basis of their money grab. Then we had to tell them to get serious about negotiating - that in effect Herr Verhofstadt must allow Herr Barnier some flexibility.
An irascible Herr Barnier, undermined and on the back-foot, descended into Gallo-German histrionics at the press conference; the UK was finished (untrue) we would be forced out of Europol (untrue) and our nation would sink 'neath the waves. I was only waiting for the poor little man to turn to David Davis and exclaim "Your mother was a Hamster and your father smelt of Elderberries!"