Talk about having your cake and eating it! Rather than risk having his mugshot, pen in hand, signing away the UK’s independence, splashed all over the front pages, Macavity hoped to duck signing the EU Constitution by pleading a ‘prior engagement’, an easily moveable Westminster feast. Now a sleight of hand gets him off the hook.

Criticism of his obvious cowardice and an apparent desire to distance himself from a shameful Treaty which has lead him and his party into dishonour and dishonesty has now stung him into finding a way of getting to Lisbon on Thursday to add his signature to those of the other 26 heads of government who will sign for their countries.

It is a sign of the weakness of his position that he had sought to evade his duty in the first place and of just how weak that position is that he has been forced into a public relations disaster by now agreeing to go.

The issue now is as to whether he will have the guts to sign it in public and have his photograph taken doing it. If he does not, we shall know full well that he wants at all costs to avoid his face being associated with this shabby and dishonourable act.

In those circumstances he may well think he is having his cake and eating it. In fact, as he will find out, he is damned if he does and damned if he does not. For we shall bruit his cowardice to the world if he signs us into serfdom hugger-mugger but make his face the face of the Treaty if he lets us see him do it.

Ben Brogan opines about the triviality of all this and in a sense it is trivial, save for what it tells you about the character of our Prime Minister and what it tells you about his and Labour’s behaviour over the issue of a referendum and the nature of the Treaty itself. Those are issues of considerable importance and ones which voters are perfectly entitled to consider before they cast their vote at the next General Election. Besides, it is difficult to resist giving him another smart kick when he is down.

Given how badly he has played his hand and given the hole-and-corner way he has gone about it, the electorate are unlikely to draw a favourable conclusion on the matter.

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