Now I don't know with any certainty what Cameron's chances of success are, or what will be the likely shape of the offer on the table after the talking has ended. At the same time I have no fear of the UK's chances outside the EU and can happily ignore the scare mongering by the global corporates, for whom a Federal Europe would work very well. They'd only have to bribe one set of government officials, rather than 28, for a start. However, I'm not quite the Euro purist that those of us in the 'out' camp are often imagined.
- I support absolutely the free movement of goods, business or personal, without tariffs or quotas, within a bloc of nations sharing minimum standards of public health and hygiene and in which commercial law operates effectively
- Likewise I support the free movement of people in Europe, subject always to being able to demonstrate that they have both accommodation and means of support in their target nation. EU benefits tourists must be stopped - and this includes paying child benefit to Poland or Romania. But no quotas or restrictions on EU28 citizens coming to the UK to take up a job.
- Freedom to provide services; yes, absolutely. Other EU countries are far more restrictive and protectionist than the UK and we need to go on the offensive. Austria for example requires hairdressers to undergo a 3 year apprenticeship - and they produce naff and unflattering coiffures like those popular in 1950s Soviet Bulgaria. In the UK any 16 year old school leaver can set herself up as a hairdresser - and UK women's hairstyles lead the world.
- Freedom of Capital - of course.
What I absolutely cannot stick, what is repugnant and loathsome and horrid beyond measure, is the creeping EU Federalism that daily leaks power, taxes and influence to a ghastly college of zombie unelected officials in Brussels. The Commission needs hitting heavily with a very large stick until every bone is shattered. They must be starved of tax money, denied status, derided and ridiculed, belittled and sidelined. Sovereignty must remain with Europe's 28 nation states, or at least ours must remain with us.
And that's my bottom line.