Could a Dutch referendum have acted as a shield?
News from the Hague within the past hour could have a big impact on UK politics. For as can be seen from the EU Observer report the chances of there being a referendum in the Netherlands on the EU treaty now look very slim indeed.
It will be recalled that the Dutch rejected the EU constitution in a vote in 2004 which took the pressure off Tony Blair who had promised to put the issue to the electors here.
If the Dutch referendum had gone forward it would have given an added boost to the current high profile campaign for a vote in the UK. Yet in a way it could put more pressure on the government here. For it would have been much easier for Brown to have made a U-turn over his original rejection of the plan if the Dutch were planning a vote as well. The British would not have been the sole blockers of the EU changes.
Now Britain is on its own and the Murdoch press is not going to put its attack dogs back in their kennels.