Um, well, call me cynical but it doesn't look like it.
Less than three weeks ago, on the eve of his Party conference, it was no less than the Great Leader himself who told us via the Today programme that, "we promise a referendum... And that promise is good whenever Gordon Brown decides to hold this election."
Yesterday morning, however, we got his sidekick—part-time shadow foreign secretary William Hague—on the same programme, challenged directly on whether, in the next Tory manifesto, he will promise to repeal this treaty if it is ratified. In response, one might have expected him to echo his leader but, instead, we get this decidedly equivocal exchange:WH: Well, that depe... Let's think first of all... There's several "ifs" there really. Is this going to go through Parliament in this form? Are we going to fail to get a referendum? And then is the general election going to be beyond the point—which is what I think what you are referring to—when the treaty has been ratified. Now that is something that we will have to decide over the coming months, what is the position after the treaty has been ratified, if it is ratified. We would like to focus people’s minds on the fact that it is still possible to force the government to give a referendum and that is what we will be campaigning for over the coming months.
INT: How is it though, because even when it goes though Parliament, you're unlikely to... unless the Liberal Democrats come in with you, you won't defeat the government.
WH: That is right.
INT: ... and the Liberal Democrats, given the likely leaders, Nick Clegg or Chris Hulme, they’re not going to vote with you.
WH: Well, of course, they ought to because they also have a commitment to a referendum. And I can tell you that those Lib-Dem MPs, and those...
INT: The reality is, Mr Hague that they won't, so the chances of you defeating this in Parliament are zero, aren’t they?
WH: Well, we are going to work with people across other parties, of course, to make the best possible case for this in Parliament. The case is very strong and we'll work to get the most votes on this in either House of Parliament. And you're quite right that if the treaty is ratified by this and all other countries, well then we'll all have to decide what we're going to do about this in the future. But we will decide about that in due course. That is one of the future arguments on this subject. It's not one of the arguments at issue at the moment.
So, now we know. Hague and the Tories will fight for a referendum, but Hague does not expect to win one. And afterwards, "we'll all have to decide what we're going to do about this in the future."
One could be forgiven, on this basis, for thinking that Cameron's initial promise was no more substantial than any other promise given by a politician—i.e., not at all—and that the Tories, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, will accept the treaty once it is ratified.
And why should they not? The Conservatives have never really been EUsceptic whilst in government, from the day that they sold our sovereignty in 1972, through to the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty.
I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs. I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking, etc. etc.