Today, The Times has coverage of Lord Owen’s sensible ideas on Europe but, as my wife has pointed out, his referendum questions are too complex.
Instead of asking “Do you want the UK to be part of the single market in a wider European community?” just ask, “Do you want trade with Europe?”
And not “Do you want the UK to remain in the EU, keeping open the option of joining the more integrated Eurozone?” just “Do you want the UK to remain in the EU?”
The second question represents something of a breakfast table compromise. Alternatives were, “Do you want to be ruled by unelected, unaccountable officials in Brussels?” and “Should the EU be abolished for the sake of peace, prosperity, liberty and justice in Europe?”
As I have said before, if the European Union confined itself to enforcing peace and the rule of law amongst the European nations, free trade and essential liberties, I would support it. I would prefer to see those functions exercised by the Council of Europe and the EU abolished, but that requires a degree of enlightenment amongst European politicians which does not seem likely.
Still, it seems we are nudging ever closer to a referendum. Good.