HERE’S something I have in common with our former MP Robert Key.

He doesn’t like being told what to think, and neither do I.

“I don’t like being told what I have got to do, which is to stop not liking Brexit,” he told a Salisbury for Europe gathering last week.

“We are told we should welcome a new era of uncertainty when we will be poorer and less influential than we are now.”

He was referring, of course, to the Project Fear tactics adopted by Theresa May to persuade MPs to support her withdrawal agreement.

“There is too much bullying in politics today,” he declared.

“Don’t lecture me that ‘the British people have spoken’. Ask them if this deal was what they meant when they voted in 2016.”

Mr Key has kept his head down politically since retiring, leaving the way clear for John Glen, which seems only right.

And he refused to criticise Mr Glen for being a Remainer who remains a Minister, saying he was better placed to influence matters within the government than outside it.

Time will tell, but we haven’t got a lot of that, have we?

One way in which Mr Key proposed to create a more balanced electorate, given our ageing population, was to lower the voting age to 16.

If this happened, the vast majority of newly enfranchised teenagers would be Remainers, who could swing a second referendum.

The problem for Mr Key’s party would be what happened thereafter.

Most young people’s sympathies lie somewhere to the left of today’s Tories. And once you’ve given them a vote, you can’t really take it away again.

So it might become a great deal harder for the Conservatives to win office in future. It’s a ‘Be careful what you wish for’ moment.

Many Tory Remainers, however, regard Brexit as potentially so disastrous that stopping it is more important than anything else.

On other points I found myself agreeing with Mr Key: that ours is a nation built on immigration; that young people feel angry at what the older generation is doing to their future; that any referendum should require a two-thirds majority; that the common ground of our politics is giving way; that flirting with nationalism is dangerous; that sovereignty is a myth.

But what truly impressed me was that he had actually read all 585 pages of Mrs May’s deal. Rather him than me!

One of the biggest threats to democracy, in my eyes, is the way the printed word has been overtaken by the internet as our principal means of informing ourselves.

Quite apart from working out what’s fake news in the undisciplined world of the web, there’s the sheer volume of verbiage to contend with.

It’s easier online to abandon all restraint in writing and burble on for hours. Yours truly excepted!

I’ve grumbled before about having to scroll through official reports running to hundreds of pages, so I can tell you what the authorities are up to.

Many sensible people wouldn’t bother. But that’s what allows politicians to get away with taking bad decisions.

Get involved. I think that’s my message.