To all intents and purposes, a referendum is already taking place. Europe is having a referendum on Britain.
Once David Cameron vetoed the EU fiscal pact, a process of political merger began which did not include Britain. When it is over, the 'remorseless logic' of closer political union will create a core set, or perhaps an EU-wide grouping, of countries who have their budgets signed off in Brussels and Berlin.
It won't be called the EU, just as the fiscal pact is not technically an EU treaty. But it will be the EU minus us. Those waiting for a formal EU treaty will probably be waiting a long time. That would involve at least half a dozen referenda and it will be avoided. Europe is getting on with things without the UK.
With economic membership equivalent to political membership, it will be untenable for Britain to have anything to do with it. The ensuing treaties would mark the end of national sovereignty, but anyway the public would not accept it. The only things to consider aboutRead More »from We need an in-or-out referendum on Europe – but not yet