Let's introduce some rationality into the debate about Macavity Brown's reluctance to go to Lisbon to sign the EU Reform Treaty. For a Prime Minister to stake his political reputation on the Treaty, you might think he'd stand by those wonderful red lines he's supposedly negotiated and trumpet his great achievement. But no, this is Gordon Brown we're talking about. According to the BBC he refuses to rearrange a long standing appearance before the House of Commons Liaison Committee, despite the Committee saying they would be quite happy for him to do so. That says it all really.
Brown's supporters, of course, point to the fact that it is quite normal for other Ministers to sign Treaties on the government's behalf, and of course they do have a bit of a point. It was Francis Maude who drew the short straw of signing the Maastricht Treaty, I seem to remember.
Today's newspapers report that the Germans are trying to insert a new clause at the last minute. It relates to the anthem, flag and Europe Day - all things Gordon Brown assured us he had had taken out. Will he now concede these points at the last minute and hope we won't really mind? That would be a great misjudgement.