Boris Johnson’s suggestion that we should reject the EU in a first referendum in order better to negotiate changes that would benefit the whole Union makes a lot of sense. The present debate about our continuing membership of the EU suggests that we would simply leave the Union if voters chose not to remain. This requires only the United Kingdom to make a decision. Why should we be the only country that has to do that?
We should inform the Union that we will change our relationship in accordance with responses to questions in our referendum: not simply asking whether we should we remain, but questions about accountability and powers that we want repatriated and about immigration into a an island with a population density several times that of larger neighbours.
Then the other twenty-six members of the EU would have to make a decision as to whether or not they would turn away from us, and take away their trade with us which is very much in their favour. Could they reach agreement with on this, especially if, at the same time, the US and big businesses and other organisations that are keen for us to remain part of the EU were leaning on them?