Three weeks ago amongst the backslapping and behind the scenes horse trading in Brussels, the British EU Commissioner Lord Hill was grilled by MEPs from across the political divide, with Sven Giegold, a senior German Green MEP claiming that Hill was vague and unsuitable. UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe also attacked Hill saying that he is unable to serve both the British Crown and the European Union as a Commissioner.
Lord Hill's response was less than convincing. Hill claimed that there was no conflict in serving both the EU and keeping to his oath of allegiance to the Crown but can one person really serve two masters?
So much of the EU's workings remain a mystery to the British public which is why it's never been a better time to ask why Britain should have a Commissioner.
The EU Commission is made up of appointees, offered as candidates by national governments and endorsed by the European parliament. Once this nicety is over with, it proceeds with its 25,000 employees to write 75% of our laws and negotiate trade deals for EU member states.
Most directives by the European Commission are agreed by qualified majority voting; the days of the British veto are long over, but in a union every commissioner is a keystone symbolically. No commissioner can be fired, though entire commissions can be - as was the case with the Santer Commission - which was seen as too corrupt, even for the EU!
Every five years, just after the European elections, each member state offers up some second rate politician, usually a personal favourite of the PM of the day, or a political reject to exile out of the way. Well known luminaries include household names such as Neil Kinnock, Peter Mandelson, Leon Brittan and Chris Patten.
In the creeping normalisation of the European Union, no one has yet stopped to ask why we just don't boycott the appointment of Britain's EU Commissioner. Why not just stand Lord Hill down. His lack of fame makes even Hermann van Rompuy look like a Hollywood A-lister and that's saying something! Better still stand him down and offer no replacement in protest.
There is a similar precedent for this. In 1966 French President Charles de Gaulle withdrew France from NATO's integrated military command. For 43 years the French were out of NATO in all but name, co-operative but never again assumed to be compliant. It was a masterstroke of French diplomacy that allowed NATO to function while maintaining French sovereignty. Americans were off French bases within a year and Paris again became diplomatically significant.
A brave Gaullist move by Cameron would leave the establishment's heads spinning and leave the door open to BREXIT, or to re-integration after a referendum, should the UK choose to remain within the EU. It would give Cameron the kudos he badly needs to promise a referendum and throw a spanner into the EU's plans to regulate the City of London to death and flog off the NHS.
"English votes for English laws" is a slogan stirring passions in Westminster after Scotland's independence referendum. Could this sentiment be harnessed to hold back EU legislation and bring us closer to life outside the EU?
The UK and David Cameron have everything to gain and nothing to lose from a temporary withdrawal, it would more than make up for the PM's dismal campaign to oppose Juncker and give his Eurosceptic backbenchers a bone to gnaw in the run up to May 2015. It's a no brainer really.
Dr Jonathan Stanley contributed to the writing of this article.Suggest a correction