Britain was represented by Brexit secretary David Davis, who said he begins the talks in a “positive and constructive” frame of mind.
Earlier assertions by Mr Davis and fellow ‘Leavers’ suggest that he may be the most optimistic, the most deluded, and probably the most bizarre representative sent on a foreign mission to represent the UK’s interests since Eddie The Eagle competed at the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988.
History records that Eddie came last in the two events he entered. He, however, entered those competitions in a spirit of fun and adventure.
Early indications suggest these talks will not be very much fun. The need for adventure will be answered by untested, unprecedented arrangements made to reach an unlikely divorce settlement.
Despite all of that, and despite the new-found influence of the DUP who, despite the North’s vote to stay in the EU have become the opportunists sustaining Ms May’s doomed Brexit premiership, these talks have the potential to shape our prospects for decades.
It is a fact of life that these possibilities far outweigh any capacity we have to influence them. We are reliant on the kindness of strangers to stand between us and the worst excesses of Eddie The Eagle’s lunatic compatriots.