In the decade since they voted to join the European Union the islanders of the Aland archipelago in the Baltic Sea have been outvoted and overruled by Brussels, time and again.
Now Aland, a unique, autonomous region of Finland, is about to teach Brussels a lesson in democracy it may never forget.....
A week ago, few if any readers of this newspaper would have been able to locate Aland on a map, still less known how to respond politely if offered a nice relaxing mouthful of snus.
So it is nothing short of delightful to contemplate the possibility that, when the history of the European federal project's downfall is written, the projectile that socked into the forehead of Goliath will prove to have been a wad of Swedish chewing tobacco, and the David of the scenario will have been the duck-hunting, jumper-wearing, snus-chewing, freedom-loving people of a small Baltic archipelago.
The freedoms the Alanders seek to defend are based on much that Brussels seems to stand against: the right of a small population to govern itself; and long-standing, historically determined constitutional tradition.
A pity another, slightly larger, island to the west doesn't also hold and defend its rights and traditions.