Oh Jim, Jim - “denial of democratic choice over the EU”? I have to say that that just shows your ignorance of democracy and the UK’s form of it. We have something called “representative democracy”, not direct democracy in the sense of referenda on everything.
If you think that not having a refendum on this particular EU treaty is not democratic, I expect then that you support referenda generally as a way of deciding policy in this country? No? Well then, don’t attack people who don’t agree with the idea of having a referendum on this particular EU treaty as denying democratic choice, because that is, quite frankly, a brainless description of a disagreement over what things should or shouldn’t go to a referendum.
Unfortunately, it is Katherine who is the fucking ignorant one here. As she points out we "have something called “representative democracy”, not direct democracy". What this means is that those who are looking to be elected tell the electorate what they will do if they are returned.
They do this by means of something called a Manifesto, a wee document which incorporates a statement of intent with various pledges and promises. NuLabour's 2005 Manifesto included a pledge to hold a plebiscite on the EU Constitution.
In other words, when NuLabour represented themselves to the people, this referendum was one of their promises. The Labour Party promised that they would do this if returned to government and that is what "representative democracy" is all about: you represent yourself to the voters.
Thus, the whole contention that, if you support a referendum on this issue, then you have to "support referenda generally as a way of deciding policy" is nothing less than a fucking lie.
Thus the one and only question on this issue is this: is the Reform Treaty equivalent to the EU Constitution and thus is NuLabour's represented election pledge which should be binding upon them?
As you will know, I believe that the Reform Treaty has substantially the same effect as the EU Constitution and that the government's red lines—the main red herring that NuLabour has now turned to in order to deflect referendum calls—are not only unsound but were anyway all in place before the referendum pledge was made at the 2005 general election.
As such, Unity, you are right that it's "not the government who’re behaving like cowards here"*: they are behaving like lying cunts who refuse to honour the manifesto pledges under which they represented themselves to the voting population.
As such, the NuLabour government are undermining the very principle of the "representative democracy" that so many anti-referendum arseholes purport to support.
And it is all very well saying that...
... it will be for the electorate to judge them according on that decision and the extent to which it influences their choice of who to vote for when their is a general election...
...but what on earth is the electorate to believe is they cannot believe the manifestos that their election candidates represent themselves under?
Besides, by the next election the Reform Treaty is likely to be in place, passed into British law, and it will be too late then (more on that later).
So I shall repeat the clarification, which is this: the only argument is whether the Reform Treaty is equivalent to the EU Constitution and thus qualifies under the Labour Party's manifesto promise to hold a referendum.
* I'll deal with Hague and Cameron's vacillation in the morning.