Kampanjen för folkomröstning i Storbritannien håller på att gå in i ett mycket spännande skede. Innan nejen i Frankrike och Holland hade alla partier lovat en folkomröstning om EU-konstitutionen, men nu försöker den nye premiärministern Gordon Brown smita ifrån det löftet.
Den EU-positiva tidningen Economist hoppas fortfarande kunna undvika en folkomröstning, men optimismen är något ansträngd.
Right now, the new prime minister, Gordon Brown, is battling demands to offer the British public a referendum on the proposed ”Treaty of Lisbon” that EU leaders have drafted as a replacement for the doomed EU constitution (on which his predecessor, Tony Blair, did offer a referendum).
Mr Brown is having a painful time fighting off those demands, mainly because he cannot speak aloud the real reason not to have a referendum (he would lose it, plunging Britain’s EU relations into a deep crisis), but instead has to pretend that the new treaty is so different from, and so much more modest than the old constitution, that a national popular vote is not needed. Alas, the last few weeks have been unkind to that strategy. Half the national leaders in Europe have popped up to boast that the new treaty contains almost all the major innovations of the old constitution, and that all that has changed is the packaging. Some of those leaders, still more unhelpfully, have publicly asserted that the guiding principle behind the change of packaging was to make the whole treaty bewildering to ordinary voters, in order to avoid referendums.
Och det här är alltså en Ja-sägares beskrivning av situationen.