When you ask an ordinary typical person what turns them off about politicians, the answer that is heard time and time again is that they do not listen. The classic example is always the TV interview, be it on Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman or on Question Time, when a politician is asked a question, and the politician replies with the line "the real question is ..." and changes the terms of debate to an issue that they want to talk about and not the issue actually under discussion.
Sadly, this is what the Lib Dems are doing at the moment over the EU Constitution. By attempting to turn this in to a wider debate on Europe and Britain's continued presence in the European Union, a line that all but the biggest idiots (UKIP) will support, the Lib Dems are ploughing a furrow that the public don't want to go down. The vast majority of British people have no doubt that we should be members of the EU, but they do have concerns that politicians, UK politicians in fact, want to integrate and introduce more EU measures without the population at large being able to discuss the issues and vote on them via a referendum.
In many ways the Lib Dem line is simply "But that's not the question. The real question is ... "
However, the question is "Should their be a referendum on the EU constitution". Emphatically, the answer is yes, and this is a view held by a large number, possibly even a majority of Lib Dems. Certainly of Lib Dems I know, this view is the dominant one.
We should not pretend for one minute that a wider referendum on the issue of the UK's continued membership of the EU is a proper way in which the EU constitution can be properly debated. All this Lib Dem plan does, in the short term, is to sweep the issue under the carpet and hope that it goes away. The problem is, that it won't. All it does is paint the party as being as bad as all the rest, promising a referendum that not choosing to support it when it comes to the crunch.
It's the sort of tired politics that people are really fed up with. The electorate are crying out for more from a politicaly party, They want to believe that there is a political party that genuinely listens and aswers the questions, not one that avoids giving answers and changes the questions.