Fundamental, far-reaching changes to redefine Britain's membership in the European Union were outlined by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, yesterday in a hand-written letter to the EU.
MEPs in Brussels were taken aback by some of them, which included:
a) Chocolate fingers must be provided at morning sessions, and Robinson's Barley Water is to be available at all meetings;
b) Yeovil Magistrates Court is to be confirmed as exclusive venue of jurisdiction for all disputes arising from agreements reached between the 28 member states;
c) Female MEPs must bear a blue or yellow handbag, as a sign of respect for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II;
d) Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy', considered to be the European Anthem, is to be replaced by 'Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross'.
Cameron was adamant that most demands would not be negotiable. "We're being reasonable here," he said, "the standard of refreshments in Brussels is appalling and I will not bend an inch on that one. As for Yeovil, well, it's close to Haselbury Plucknett where I have an allotment. OK, I might be willing to negotiate there."
Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, welcomed the letter.
"We are always open to proposals, especially if they are written in dark blue ink. Only, I'm not sure....what is this cock horse?..."
Cameron refused to confirm claims that his demands included a rebate for Britain for every goal scored by members states against English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football teams, or that the chip butty and semolina pudding should become compulsory for school dinners throughout Europe. "This is a serious agenda which the EU must address before we can decide to say yes, no, maybe, I don't know, I'm not sure or I didn't understand the question, or....whatever. The British public deserves answers to these urgent issues."