British anti-European hackles have been raised by the President of the EU Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, expressing surprise that "some people" would appear to want a diminished role for UK in Europe like that of Norway or Switzerland.
Usually when the euro-phobes lash out like this, it's because a nerve has been touched where they feel vulnerable. That would certainly appear to be the case here.
Aside from the question as to whether Britain could model itself on these two small countries - one whose economy is dominated by oil and gas, the other built on a history of neutrality and secretive banking - would we wish to?
Norway and Switzerland are both subject to most of the rules of the EU club but have little or no say over setting them. As a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) Norway pays 340 million euros a year into EU coffers without any say in how the money is spent. Norway must also implement EU laws on social policy, consumer protection, company law and the environment that they have had no part in negotiating.
Switzerland, which is not in the EEA but in the looser European Free Trade Association, does not get access to EU markets for nothing. It pays 130 million Euros to the EU annually and is frequently forced by the EU's negotiating muscle to comply with European laws - most recently on its precious banking sector.
Yet just as more countries - Croatia and Iceland are queuing up to join the EU - leading Conservative politicians in Britain like the former defence secretary Liam Fox are saying there should be "no terror" for Britain in leaving.
But Britain is not Norway and we are not Switzerland. We are one of Europe's big four, a mixed economy and a trading nation. We're a nuclear armed power and (still) a permanent member of the UN Security Council. In the eyes of America, China and the other emerging economies we matter increasingly as a result of the influence we wield in the world's biggest economic and political blocs. If we left the EU we would not only have to renegotiate all of our trade agreements in Europe but with the rest of the world too. In both negotiations we'd have diminished clout. With the rest of the EU because not one of the other 26 members shares such an agenda and would give us any favours. Internationally because global trade talks are handled by the EU and we'd have absented ourselves from the talks.
Britain has learned over the last two centuries that it is always better to be at the table and, contrary to euro-sceptic myth - we are rather good at getting our way when we are. We have many natural allies in EU for our open and outward-looking vision of Europe - including Mr Barroso himself.
It would be a tragedy and a gross betrayal of our national interest if at this very time of crisis and uncertainty for Europe, we were to relegate ourselves to the margins.