History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. As Boris Johnson contemplates whether to make the compromises necessary to unlock a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union, he should ponder the fate of Harold Macmillan. Britain’s last Eton and Balliol-educated Tory prime minister came to regret his early opposition to European integration and subsequently devoted much of his premiership to trying to negotiate Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community, only to be rebuffed in January 1963 by President de Gaulle’s famous “non”. Macmillan regarded his failure to secure a deal as a disaster. “All our policies at home and abroad are in ruins,” he wrote in his diary.
What made Macmillan’s rejection particularly humiliating is that it came weeks after Dean