The more I look at what the Tories and their allies are doing, the more I feel a lack of substance to their demands for a referendum. After all what is in it for them?
A referendum would create all sorts of problems for them. It would reopen all their old splits. It would create another layer of internal division. After all how would they campaign?
Would they put a three line whip on it and demand that their MPs supported a No vote? Today we have characters like Bob Walters in North Dorset, ´committed Europhile, but calling for a referendum. How would he line up in the campaign., Would Cameron want to discipline people like ken Clarke? I doubt it.
It would be a nightmare.
Instead if they do just enough to appear to be Eurosceptic, then that will shore up their base. It would squeeze UKIP and would convince their own supporters of their Eurosceptic credentials. Thus we have Tim Montgomery of ConHome talking on the Today program the other day saying, "Of course Cameron is a Eurosceptic he wants a referendum on the Treaty".
But, but. Has anybody heard a single member of the Tory front bench actually saying that they would vote no? They know that the yes side will paint the referendum as a choice between in or out. They know that the Commission will spend, spend and spend on getting that message across.
And we also know that they have said time and time again that they want to stay in the EU.
So that could explain why David Davis, shadow Home Secretary and darling of the Tory right undermining Labour Eurosceptics on Sunday. It would also explain why Open Europe's new little toy, I want a Referendum claims to be cross party, when it is selective in its cross partyness.
Open Europe seems to be acting as William Hague's private think tank, (led by someone who so desperately wants to be Tory A lister that he will do their beck and call rather than build true 'broad based coalitions) so we have as supports of this campaign some Tory sceps, Lib Dems and Labour, but no UKIP.
And they hardly mention the EU in their press releases, nor in their film. What they do mention is trust.
So the Tories can have their cake and eat it. They campaign enough to bring back Sceops to the foild and undermine UKIP, but not enough to force a Referendum. That way they can claim after the Parliamentary ratification that the fought it, but Labour's majority was too big. But how can anybody trust Gordon Brown.
Trust us: Vote for us,
(But don't expect us in any way to claw back our country's sovereignty, its too late for that)
If you want to see the 'I want a Referendum video', set to be launched in cinemas soon then if you have Quicktime you can view it here. (I cannot get quicktime so I haven't seen it)
David Davis: Article 50 Timetable Still Stands
7 minutes ago