Peter Riddell, writing in this morning's Times, gets it about right:
we need a proper debate on how and when referendums should be held so that they are not just matters of short-term political convenienceThat debate could being within the Liberal Democrats. The idea of a referendum on EU membership had hardly occurred to us before Ming Cambell announced that it was party policy. Now it is such a point of principle that our MPs cannot bear to stay in the House if they are denied a chance to vote for it. It is all very confusing.
And respect to Riddell for using the correct plural of "referendum".