The TUC is not, thanks to the tender loving care administered to it and its constituent unions by Margaret Thatcher, to the everlasting benefit of the British people as a whole, what it was. Once it was not difficult to name half a dozen of its leading lights as the nation and successive Labour Governments and, dare one say it, the odd Tory Government too (notably that of Ted Heath who may have had a ‘good’ war, but bottled the one that needed fighting against the modern Trades Union Robber Barons of the 1970s) bent the knee to these overmighty but utterly undemocratic men, many of whom were communists or ex-communists. Such was their power that Labour Prime Ministers Wilson and Callaghan seemed to be at their beck and call, but nowadays one would be hard pressed to name the heads of the major unions, save perhaps that splendid dinosaur Bob Crow who reminds us so much of his bonehead forebears in the trades union movement.

Nonetheless, vis-à-vis the Labour Party they still have power disproportionate to their size, a power which emanates from their holding of the purse strings, a grip which has been tightened anew as Vanity Blair’s experiment with cuddling up to rich businessmen imploded when PC Plod decided to take an interest in their activities. Now as Gordon Brown, liar and Prime Minister, ponders when to hold a general election, it is the Iguanodons of the Trades Unions who call the tune, as they will still be the ones to bankroll such an event, most of the Fat Cats having scuttled off into the perma-gloom from whence they came.

Thus it will come as a nasty shock if, as predicted, the TUC votes, largely for reasons quite different from the rest of us, in favour of a Referendum being held on the issue of ratification of the EU Constitution.

Such a vote will leave him isolated. Only he and some hundred other ministers are minded to say (and given the particularly psittacine mantra uttered by most in defence of the indefensible EU Constitution Mark II, it is apparent that none of them actually believes what they are saying) that the present document is sufficiently different from the original Constitution that a Referendum is not justified, supported, for the moment, in as dishonourable a way as Labour, by LibDems who, as usual, exhibit all the usual symptoms of rampant Galloping EuroPox.

And that’s it.

The rest of us know that the new Treaty for what it is. Many of his own backbenchers acknowledge the need for a referendum. By all accounts some 80% of the people want a referendum. So when is Brown going to do a bit of ‘listening’ to the people?

Do not hold your breath. This is one where he is likely to be dragged kicking and screaming to a Referendum ballot box, probably only when he is at last faced with a vote in The House of Commons in which his own backbenchers desert him in favour of Democracy and the LibDems remember that part of their name is the word ‘democrat’. At which point he will doubtless declare that, upon further thought, our ‘red lines’ (or ‘red herrings’, rather) are not quite as secure as was once thought and then do his Macavity act for a fortnight.

When speaking to the TUC yesterday I noted one particular phrase (that seems to have precious little to do with Trades Unionism, but there) that Brown used as he spun his web for The Brothers, speaking of the “denial of democracy in Burma”.

Readers may think that this was just a teeny weeny bit thick coming from the man whose own idea of democracy at home runs to denying the British People the right to give or to withhold its whole-hearted consent to the EU Constitution.

He obviously feels the urge not merely to renege dishonourably on a clearly made promise, but also to stick it up our nostrils as well.