So it would appear as though we are heading into the final stretch of David Cameron's fabled renegotiation with the European Union. Through a letter to Donald Tusk, the Prime Minister has finally gone public with his demands for Britain’s continued membership of the EU.
This will surely produce the most significant constitutional question in a generation: do we want to govern our own affairs, or do we want to federalise? That is the choice facing the electorate at the referendum. Some of Cameron's own backbenchers have been rather outspoken about their leader’s attempted renegotiation, and it is unclear whether his own frontbench ministers will be able to campaign freely to leave the European Union.
Despite being an ardent advocate of separation, I would consider voting to remain in the EU if Mr Cameron delivered on the matters that concern me most.
Firstly, I would like to see Britain opt-out of legislation that allows the free movement of peoples across the continent – which currently exposes Britain to unfettered immigration. I do not seek to demonise those who travel to this country in search of a better life: they are often incredibly courageous individuals. Yet, I believe that it is crucial for a nation-state to control its borders and welcome only those who can integrate into our society and economy. Secondly, I would like the vast majority of our laws to be made in Westminster, rather than Strasbourg or Brussels. For example, bizarrely, our bin collection legislation is not governed by Westminster – it is directed to us from Eureope.
I know the idea of sovereign, self-governing nation-state is viewed nowadays as somewhat archaic (some would say ‘inward looking’ and ‘isolationist’), but closer unions with foreign nations will only further divide us. I don't want Britain to withdraw from Europe entirely; I want an amicable divorce from political union. I seek a relationship based on trade and co-operation, rather than stringent political bonds. Who could possibly argue against being an independent, informal economic and diplomatic ally with our counterparts in Europe?
Why is David Cameron so scared to lead Britain out of the EU and into the world?