"Who's this bloke, then?" my colleague asked "Has he taken over from the other bloke?" He was referring to (respectively) Martin Schultz, an MEP who is styled President of the European Parliament after receiving the votes of his fellow MEPs, and JC Juncker, an unelected official styled President of the European Commission. No, No, I explained; Europe had scores of unknown, unelected non-entities styled President of this or that. In fact, I said, there had been twenty-seven previous EP Presidents during the reign of our Sovereign Lady not one of whom could be named by anyone in the UK, including the Brit who held the title between 1987 and 1989.
MEPs in the UK occupy a social niche somewhere between county councillors and golf club managers. They are the last resort of journalists desperate for a quote and not one Londoner I've ever met can name a single MEP for our capital city. More Brits know when National Breastfeeding Day falls than can pinpoint Europe Day. The EU is a subject so mind-numbingly tedious that rational Britons have gnawed off their own hands rather than hear QMV explained. People aren't just uninterested in discussing the EU, they are negatively interested; their degree of uninterest passes zero on the scale and continues into the minus numbers.
None of which means that we don't care about the power wielded by that amorphous, grey, unelected and undemocratic officious mass in Brussels. We may not be able to identify or differentiate them, or tell what they do individually, or understand the pompous titles and spurious offices with which they reward each-other, but by Golly we don't want to give up our own democratic power to them. They may be fine running places such as Luxembourg or Belgium, countries that don't matter, but you wouldn't trust them with the UK, would you?
Unfortunately, Brussels is filled with folk like Mr Schultz MEP deluded enough to believe this is exactly what we Britons need. And the matter is getting loud enough to penetrate even to those such as my colleague.