Before I start, I declare where I sit on this whole issue of Europe and the EU. Put simply, I think we've handed too many powers to Europe and I do not want to see Europe taking any Foreign Ministry or Defence powers from member states. Simple. I do, however, like the idea of the EU, if it is reformed.
The problem is that a lot of people in the UK, and increasingly across Europe, do not trust the EU and don't like its institutions or activities.
So Labour's proposal to ignore the population and push through the new treaty without a referendum is lacking in vision and is missing a great opportunity.
This treaty could be the way to show the British people that the EU is going to be controlled and constrained and through their vote they could do that. The referendum would also be a wonderful opportunity to educate the electorate about what the EU actually does now and what it would do in the future.
Personally, I think Gordon Brown and Tony Blair are running scared of having a debate. I guess Gordon Brown knows a referendum defeat could torpedo his leadership at the very start. But imagine if he won it ? Wouldn't that set the scene for a quick general election and a Labour victory ?
Again, I repeat. I think Labour are missing a trick here.