Put 27 prime ministers in a room, add expensive mineral water and a lot of hot air, and what do you get? A treaty featuring much of what the French and Dutch told them to swivel on two years ago.
I'm no hater of mainland Europe, in fact I've spent a large part of my life there. Free trade, the single currency and freedom of movement of people and capital between EU member states is brilliant. But the people don't want political power going to Brussels. Read the papers, listen to the media. The Germans don't. The Spanish don't. The French don't. The Dutch don't. The British don't, and the people of Éire don't. Harmonisation, yes. Federalisation, no.
The British and Irish people voted to join the European Economic Community, not the EU superstate our political élite have been turning it into by stages over the last 20 years. And we, the people, have let them do it. We've turned a blind eye, treating it all as "something over there" that doesn't affect us. Well, wake up: it does.
If the latest treaty is ratified by national parliaments it'll be the last one that is. Under its terms, all future EU constitutional changes - and this is a constitution by the back door - will need but a "double majority": 55% of states representing 65% of the total population. National vetoes will all but disappear, and the EU will have a long-term president à la USA and a bod called the High Representative for Foreign Affairs (an EU foreign minister in all but name).
Have you been consulted on this? No. The French and Dutch were consulted, and they slammed the constitution out of court more decisively than anything else since the war.
Despite this, these heads of government have decided to go ahead with a Constitution Lite without consulting anyone this time, proving that they've become a law unto themselves, beyond accountability. Yes, they are elected by the people, but the people vote on domestic issues, and frankly whatever major party is elected they all go off to Brussels and get bitten by the EU bug. We elect these guys to represent our national interests, yet they're intent on ceding matters of national sovereignty to the grey men of Europe's greyest national capital. Did you know that no one in Brussels is elected by the people?
It's time the people spoke. We must demand national referenda and hold these runaway politicians to account.