Definitely not paragons of anything Dan, least of all virtue, I agree with you. None of the Tories come out of this well. I take your point about the referendum being a way out of Cameron's dilemma over how to control his Eurosceptics.
But if you work for a living, staying in the EU is such a no-brainer that I really can't understand the arguments for an exit. Predicted loss of GDP is between 1% and 5% [best and worst case] of three separate economic forecasters. [scource FTimes today]. The two biggest UK property companies have both said that prices will at best stagnate and the commercial property market is already static in London and will undoubtedly fall if we exit, as companies relocate to the EU.
Obama took the trouble to say directly that we will be a long time negotiating a trade deal and it is inconceivable that anyone in the EU - especially the French - will look kindly on us after we leave.
As I said a no-brainer.