When I was a kid, about this time every year my mother used to start soaking fruit in brandy to make the family's Christmas cakes and puddings. With a mischievous grin, once it was stored, I'd launch a full scale military operation, venture into the cold, dark pantry, crack open the tin and try to sneak a few mouthfuls.
When I was inevitably caught, my mother used to give me a dressing down that would reduce me to tears! My five-year-old frame would cower in fear as she waved the wooden spoon at me like a musketeer brandishing a rapier.
This fearful memory was the first thing that came into my mind once I heard about the 'showdown at number 10' taking place tonight. I don't know about you, but I think Chancellor Angela Merkel is the most terrifying woman on the planet! It's almost like she's a 'German Margaret Thatcher'... Hold on a moment... She IS the 'German Margaret Thatcher'!
Forget the charming PR spin parroted in the media about a 'quaint working dinner' tonight. The debate will be fearsome. Chancellor Merkel will be playing the part of my powerful and intimidating mother, whereas Prime Minister Cameron will playing me; A extremely intimidated five-year-old being scolded for having his hand in the fruit tin!
You'd think that with Two World Wars and one World Cup under Britain's belt, it would be the Germans who would be intimidated. Not so, such is the power of that incredible woman. She's a master politician, stateswoman, and enforcer who commands respect and overshadows any world leader.
Tonight Chancellor Merkel will be even more furious because she has a lot more to lose. She isn't just fighting for the European budget. She's fighting for the survival of the German nation.
Now I must admit, as an outsider I have only recently been swayed to supporting the prime minister's stance on a real-terms spending freeze. I originally thought "Hey, Britain should be supporting Germany. Hell, even the Italians, who are so disorganised they can't run a pub raffle kick more money in the pot than GB... So shut up and pay up".
My opinion however has slowly turned over the past few months. Every day I get into work, I look at the news wires and I see that the EU has put their hand out again. On 4 October it was reported the bureaucrats in Brussels required another £1 Billion from Britons because they had overblown their budget. Now, only four weeks later, that figure is closer to being an extra £2 billion over two years.
I've been turned in the UK's favour, because there comes a time when you just have to show tough love and cut someone off.
As US Senator Everett Dirksen famously said; "A Billion here, a Billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money." C'mon! What on earth is the European Union spending so much money on? They must be buying a helluva lot of paperclips!
The European Union budget would be hilarious if they weren't serious. Whoever heard of a rubber stamp costing one trillion Euros?
I cannot work out what they need the money for - each member state does all their own heavy lifting. Sure the EU would have some expenses; like letterheads, office space, sandwiches for meetings, parking spaces and what not...however for the amount of money they're flogging from their wealthiest members - can you tell me that none of it is going to waste? In any other circumstance what they are doing would be called a 'shake down' and police would be called to investigate.
We all know the stories about national governments wasting money and spending it like drunken sailors. They love waste, if they can they will spend money on everything and anything all at an inflated price! However the only thing stopping British parliament putting twenty-four carat gold toilets in Westminster today is the fact they'll get voted out at the next election.
So, the question then becomes 'who and how' do you hold a body like the European Union accountable?
I'll tell you who holds them accountable, prime minister David Cameron does....And how? Well, he's doing it right now.
The German response to his threats is predictable. Publicly they support the EU; however I would guess that secretly, they're fuming about the hyper inflated EU budget also. The only reason they're not jumping up and down is because they are tied to the currency. They didn't have the 'exceptionally brilliant' caution that the UK displayed by keeping the pound.
The Germans are stuck neck deep in something they can't get out of. So the only solution they have is to keep throwing money at the problem and hope it comes good. Look at the sentiment in Britain at present. Look at how furious the public is about the state of the EU.
At least you've got a strong pound. Spare a thought for the poor, everyday, ordinary German citizen. They should be living in one of the top five economies in the world, if not the strongest. They should be enjoying the life of Riley right now. Instead they're being held back and going without, spending their hard earned trying to keep afloat a continent in ruin.
Germany, not Britain, is the true parent and true victim of the European Union. In the sense that they're the head of a house that's full of immature teenagers who think money grows on trees and no matter how much they spend, their parent Deutschland has an endless supply.
While this is at Germany's peril, it's great for countries like Portugal and Greece. They can p*** away cash like they're on a stag weekend in Prague with no responsibility...Their attitude, 'not to worry, no matter what we do, daddy Germany will bail us out'.
Don't tell me that senior German statesmen aren't sitting around the Reichstag late at night, sipping whiskey and muttering to each other; "S**t. What did we get ourselves into?"
The only reasonable and fair solution I have heard so far is to have two separate European budgets. One budget should apply to all the nation states that trade in the Euro. Another separate budget for the remaining ten nations that make up the European Union.
If the EU does not go for the total spending freeze, then this is the last play. I would love to be a waiter at the dinner at Downing Street tonight. It would be incredible to watch the master stateswoman, Chancellor Merkel rip the prime minister to shreds. It will be spectacular to see how she does it because she is the only politician in the world brilliant enough to have a chance of successfully debating a redundant argument when she knows Britain is in the right and Germany is in the wrong.
So while I understand Germany's plight and am sympathetic towards her, she SHOULD NOT be allowed to drag Britain down into her hole. Britain is RIGHT to threaten to veto the budget increase. Britain SHOULD veto the budget increase. It's not Great Britain's fault Germany is in too deep to walk away.
And if all else fails and the European Union doesn't agree to freeze spending or draft two budgets, then the only thing left will be for the best and brightest minds in Whitehall to be locked in Churchill's bunker under Treasury and not be let out again until they find a way to leave the doomed union altogether without causing the UK any collateral damage.Suggest a correction