Shortly after the Chief- Speaker ringtone freaked out the Cabinet meeting http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/14/michael-gove-ringtone-david-cameron-cabinet, Michael Gove gave a speak last night at an Open Europe dinner on a slightly more pressing matter. (Phone firmly on “off” mode).
Since some 60% of Brits want to stay in a reformed Europe, the government is now pushing for renegotiation and referendum in 2017.
I have never seen Gove in the flesh before, but he is bursting with energy like a Duracell bunny. He is also courteous and professional, greeting everyone at the largish dinner like an old friend.
With a qualified audience of captains of industry, leaders from the finance markets and some well-known journalists, he was cautious with detail yet clear in the overarching ambitions. Britain sees the clear benefits with the union, and will seek for reforms of the European Union, some of which will require treaty change, if limited.
The Chairman of the Open Europe Advisory Council, Lord Leach, spoke with the wisdom and humility that is born from of a long life, and the combination of a great classical education with a global business outreach. He clearly pointed out the many nuances that a more qualified stance on the European Union requires.
Just opting out will cause new problems, and solve very few of the old ones. Federalism on the other hand, has outplayed its hand and has no popular support whatsoever.
Will Britain succeed? I think the rest of Europe needs Britain to succeed. It will perhaps not be pleasant to all, but Britain is taking the ungrateful role of the whistle blower, in a house of stalemate.
This will benefit all Europeans at the end.