With the end of the year approaching, I have been thinking about which of my views have changed over the last 12 months. Here’s one: I no longer think Brexit is a bad idea. I’m not ready to endorse it, because I don’t feel comfortable with the nationalism and populism surrounding so much of the Leave movement, but I no longer wish the referendum had gone the other way.

To be clear, I still believe the pro-remain arguments I and many others made four years ago. Even two years ago, I would have argued that the U.K. is better off as part of the European Union, for all the well-known pro-trade, pro-migration and pro-cooperation reasons. The problem is that, especially in the last year, the EU has become a less workable political union, especially for the U.K.

COVID-19 has helped to clarify my thinking. Even though a pandemic is obviously an international issue, many of the most effective responses have been at the national level. It is noteworthy that the U.K. approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for distribution before the EU, and to the benefit of the British people. That national approval process was fully compatible with EU law, although the EU is seeking ever-greater regulatory powers and indeed regulatory cartelization over time. When rapid, emergency responses become more salient, the case for staying in the EU weakens.