My recent post on the new EU treaty disturbed some of you, even upset you, making you call me names. Good! I want you agitated and agitating.
- Eurosceptics should be animated because this is their do-or-die moment.
- Europhiles should be eager to see action because if we don't renegotiate now we'll probably leave.
- Get-outers should be frightened because if we don't renegotiate now you may face evil people like me arguing that we should go the whole way in.
What I don't want to see is any get-outers believing that "worse is better", not bothering to press for renegotiation on this occasion because a failure to renegotiate might lead to increased pressure to withdraw later. That would be a strategy for fools.
Some of you asked whether there is really a Treaty. Obviously there is no draft text yet - much of my point is that we can't wait until there is a draft text! But that there should be a new Treaty has been accepted in principle by even the British government - see here, for example (and discussion here).
Many of you, Dear Readers, will have Conservative MPs. Perhaps you sat in selection meetings as those MPs, when mere aspiring candidates, gave a speech that went something like "Blah, Blah...Magna Carta...England is an Empire unto herself...didn't fight Napoleon and Hitler just so we could surrender our sovereignty to Brussels...virtues of the Common Law...importance of flexible labour markets, and that Brussels does not re-impose Socialism by the back door...as Mrs Thatcher said: No, No, No!" It was a good speech. From twenty-odd years ago until about 1998 (when it became boring) I used to give it myself. And these same candidates then stood in General Elections in 2001, 2005, and 2010 promising renegotiation, that matters would not be allowed to rest.
So, Dear Readers, here's what I want you to do. I want you to write to your MPs asking them for a report on progress in the repatriation of powers from Brussels that they promised you continuously for over a decade, and in particular what they are doing to ensure that in the new Treaty that the British government has stated, in Parliament, that it favours, will include the repatriation of key powers to Britain. If you can get to meet with them and ask them face-to-face - perhaps at a constituency surgery - even better.
Don't be fobbed off with any chat about referendum locks or sovereignty bills. Don't waste your time or breath on the question of whether there should have been a post-ratification referendum on Lisbon. And don't get distracted with flannel about the government "standing up for Britain's interests" in Brussels. Focus on this sole point: the British government has stated, in Parliament, that it favours a new Treaty. You are my MP (not David Cameron or William Hague). What are you doing to ensure that this new Treaty includes the repatriation of key powers to Britain that you have promised me and everyone else in this constituency for a decade.
Time to act.