Don't imagine that the struggle to use the new EU Treaty to renegotiate Britain's position, repatriating powers, is over. There isn't an agreed text, yet, let alone ratification. The next stage comes in December, then ratification/implementation (if ratification is somehow avoided) by 2013. This is a fight that has only just begun, and Europe will now become a central issue in British politics for the new three years.
For our leadership, there was the easy way to play this, in which the process of renegotiation was led by David Cameron - a gifted man, calm under pressure, smooth, prepared to gamble when necessary, avuncular, extremely likeable, sensible, instinctively Tory, a man that dwarfs his potential internal leadership challengers - and William Hague - a wonderful orator, brilliant cutting comic, clever, brave and decisive, a man that I favoured as Foreign Secretary as early as 2000. Our leaders would have done what they believed in and what they knew we all believe in, kept their promises, and used the opportunity and leverage that fate (and the intrinsic weaknesses of the euro project) presented to them and insisted that there should be no new Treaty without repatriation of powers to Britain. There would have been opposition, of course, but the Party would have been united behind the leadership, proud to trust them with tactical choices along the way when they said "I lead; you follow", and it would have been a pleasure to be involved.
And then there was the hard way.
So be it.
And then there will be the hard way.
You, Dear Readers, can play your part if you would like to do so. I previously provided some templates for you to contact your MPs about this issue. I suspect that many of you did not really believe that there would be any new Treaty - many left comments saying so at the time - and so did not feel inclined to contact your MPs. I hope you are now convinced that my insistence that there would be a new Treaty was not simply the ravings of an overwrought blogger.
What you need to do is contact your MP to ask her what she is doing to ensure that, in the negotiations over the new Treaty agreed at Brussels on October 29th 2010, powers are repatriated to Britain as promised in the Conservative Party's manifesto of 2010. You want to know what she is doing herself (not what the Party is doing). Keep asking until you get an answer. If necessary, go along to surgeries and keep asking until you get an answer. If necessary, get yourself elected as an officer of your Association and keep asking until you get an answer.
Do your bit. This battle is just beginning.