The worst thing, politically, about the present situation is that it makes democracies seem weak all over again. What most annoys people about Gordon Brown promising to produce "British jobs for British workers" is that he can't.
"No politician," said the Labour-supporting New Statesman primly this week, "should ever promise something that he knows is illegal under EU law." Perhaps, but if this means that he can promise very little at all, you do begin to wonder what is the point of him, and of the system which underpins him.
Is there any way of restoring the basic link, on which parliamentary democracy depends, between the interests of the voters and the actions of the people they vote for?
It would be even more interesting if politicians would actually realise quite how much of what they propose is indeed illegal under EU law.
For example, every single thing that anyone says about changing trade rules: this is now an EU sole competency and Westminster, our government, has no power over it at all.
There are, as we know, many other areas like this, where those in London posture and preen about what they would do for us without telling us that they have already signed that power away.
Perhaps we should design a little system of buzzers? Attatch one to each and every politician in the land. When they say something that they would do, but something which would be illegal under EU law, then the buzzer goes off.....and it only doesn't go off if they say "therefore we must leave the EU".
"I will take back control of our fisheries"...Buzz!
"We will control our borders"...Buzz!
"British jobs for British workers"...Buzz!
Only if we leave the EU matey, only if we leave the EU.