I was tempted to leave a blank space here, to illustrate how limited the UK’s demands are in its ongoing talks with other EU powers. Alex Barker in the FT has a tremendous account of the surreal discussions that are taking place. How, say foreign diplomats, can Britain’s partners respond to the UK’s proposals when there haven’t been any? Good question.
Other reports suggest that the government is ready to roll. It supposedly wants a declaration that the Britain is not in the European single currency (we’re not in the European single currency, there you go). Beyond that? Something about red cards and introducing the right for national parliaments to veto European laws they don’t like. The statements emerging from other EU leaders suggest such a proposal will not be accepted. After that? It’s all a bit vague.
But fear not, I have just been leaked the government’s demands in full:
1) More comfortable armchairs at European summits. The current Italian chairs are simply unacceptable. Something more British – a club chair in decaying leather – must be introduced (after a suitable consultation period).
2) The introduction of a wider selection of cold beers on the Eurostar.
3) France: No more with the Jonny Halliday business. He is not the French Elvis. He is not even the French Tom Jones.
4) More comfortable chairs at European summits.