It's the old cliché: Beware of what you wish for – you may rue it ever came true.
Virtually ever since the Brits threw their economic lot in with Europe back in the 70s, they've been champing at the bit to shed the fetters and resume being king of their own castle, shop-worn as it is.
With Boris Johnson's election triumph on a Brexit platform, it finally looks as though it's going to happen. And strangely enough, Boris looks the spitting image of a fictional figure that once characterised British independence and bulldoggish resolve.
Perhaps it's no accident that Britain's last bulldoggish figurehead was Winston Churchill – a personal hero of Boris' to the extent he wrote his own biography of the great man.
But for a time in Britain's history, before the roseate glow of empire's power and pomp had dimmed somewhat, a caricaturish figure named John Bull emerged as the visual personification of British grit and independent spirit. As the name suggests, he was of bullish mien, too.
John Bull was to Britain what Uncle Sam is to the USA, but with a more avuncular and hearty demeanour.
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He dressed in leg-hugging riding pants and calf boots, with frock coat and low crowned top hat, and wore his heart on his paunch with a Union Jack waistcoat.
He had grey side-whiskers with a jowly, florid face, and exuded a hail-fellow-well-met, yet bluff, bonhomie.
John Bull always looked fresh from the tap-room of a hospitable country pub, with its roaring fire, bibulous fellow hearties, and buxom bar wenches ferrying foaming tankards of fortifying British ale.
His self-satisfied demeanour also suggested his just having seen off half a side of best British roast beef swathed in piquant horseradish sauce, tandemed by a clutch of finest Norfolk roast potatoes wading in thick, fruit-of-the-ox darkest gravy.
He was a country squire sort of chap, but not of high falutin ilk – more a prosperous farmer from stout yeoman stock, who'd got where he was mainly by stern husbandry of hapless underpaid workers.
In short, John Bull epitomised what was perceived to be core British values of God-fearing good neighbourliness and hard work infused with copious common sense.
But, mainly, he epitomised fierce British independence - even if the nation's prosperity was itself dependent on plunder from a vast stable of colonised nations.
Soberingly, Boris is the living incarnation of that caricature. To the same tubby and tousled look, add the cropped top hat and Union Jack waistcoat, and Boris could have replaced the banner mascot of a long-lived periodical that once graced British newsstands.
Starting as a Sunday newspaper in 1820, it later morphed into a weekly magazine championing robust British character. Its name, and that of its mascot, was John Bull. By 1914, it boasted the world's largest circulation for a weekly periodical, but eventually folded in 1964.
Just as his original John Bull look-alike exuded jingoistic hubris and bluster, so too does Boris.
And when it comes to the bull in John Bull, Boris is absolutely full of it. He's not quite in Trumpian league – Donald reigns supreme – but Boris bombasts his way through a post-truth world with a farrago of half-truths, non-truths and outright nonsense, delivered with such breath-taking effrontery critics are rendered stunned mullets.
However, for many Brits, Boris means John Bull, and bulldoggish independence once more. But what cost for going alone?
Despite the apparent election mandate that Johnson's pro-Brexit Tory party received, more constituents actually voted for "Remain" parties. The real deciding factor was Britain's old first-past-the-post voting system, which notoriously delivers skewed representation.
Ominously, the eventual Brexit deal with the EU is still anyone's guess. Economically, Brexit could prove a disaster - and see John Bull's best British beef and gravy off the menu.
Boris' John Bull may yet prove to be more John Bill – as in the tab the long-suffering taxpayers could well be left holding.
•Frank Greenall is a Whanganui based contributor.