AS Winston Churchill would have put it were he alive at this hour: “This (Brexit) is not the beginning of the end but perhaps the end of the beginning.” He recognised that we are in – i.e. part of – Europe but not of it.
Once again, from Friday night, we stand alone.
For some the recovery of sovereignty is all that matters. But that is an inadequate, minimalist view.
The end game beginning before this week is out is surely to make something of our new independent status.
Nothing less than rebuilding our international standing on the basis of economic success, and a positive influence for good in a dangerous world, will do.
That noble objective may trip off the tongue easily.
It is only when you look in detail at the task confronting Boris Johnson that you realise what a Churchillian challenge he faces.
Moreover, he does not have that national asset that war brings: an overwhelming spirit of single-minded determination, effort and sacrifice.
It may be that most Remainers in our midst recognise, like Michael Heseltine, their defeat.
But that does not necessarily mean they will work for post-EU success with a will.
It is too much to hope that they will pass up opportunities to say Brexit was a serious mistake.
Can they resist the temptation to say “I told you so”?
The blunt truth is that the long-standing defeatism among our so-called elite has not gone away.
This is still a nation divided and splintering. Nationalists in Scotland and Northern Ireland want out. And if they go I would not put money on the Welsh staying in what was the United Kingdom.
At the same time there can be no denying that the NHS, social care, our education system, especially in dumbing down universities wracked with political correctness, law and order and the entire penal system are failing.
All this is exacerbated by so far uncontrolled immigration.
Worse still, the Royal Family is in turmoil what with the Dukes of York and Sussex and assorted claims that junior members of the Windsor clan are busy feathering their own nests.
When it comes to foreign affairs, you need a cool head and strong nerves.
The federalist EU is failing.
France and Germany, who run the EU, are in economic and political trouble.
They have succeeded in dividing northern Europe from the south with their single currency and have created tension between east and west EU.
Beset by these troubles, they now face negotiating the terms of our departure from the EU.
Again, given their vindictive inferiority complex towards the UK, it would be folly to expect them to concentrate on securing their own as a well as our interests with a rapid trade deal. Boris faces an immensely hard slog.
Trade deals may come more easily elsewhere but let us not kid ourselves that the world, with the possible exception of the old Commonwealth, is in the business of doing us favours – least of all Donald Trump who puts the USA first and last.
America may, after Portugal, be our oldest ally but not even in two World Wars did it rush to the colours.
In my experience American presidents have always courted the German powerhouse first until they discovered who is their reliable ally.
Let us not forget either that Trump is fighting impeachment while confronting Iran, North Korea and Islamic extremism while waging trade war against China.
None of this is calculated to wipe the smug grin off the face of Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator, who is in the business of de-stabilisation with covetous eyes on the EU’s eastern member-states while, like China, colonising the developing world.
Planet Earth is going through a very dangerous patch and there is no sign of an early improvement.
I fully accept that none of this is in tune my regular New Year resolve to look on the bright side.
Indeed, it may brand me as a pessimist for ever.
But there is a bright side. Our economy has never employed more.
Project Fear in the three years since the Brexit referendum has failed spectacularly.
Boris starts his reconstruction in a relatively healthy economic state.
In fact, his strong Parliamentary majority securing Brexit has given it bounce. Even economists reckon we shall do well.
That is something to build on. He has also handled the Iranian crisis well, is nobody’s poodle and oozes confidence, bonhomie, a desire to heal and joi de vivre. Welcome to the land of beginning again.