A report direct from Brussels earlier this evening indicated that Jack Straw, addressing the media scrum outside the Justus Lipsus building, confidently forecasted that, by 7.30 this evening, he would be able to make an announcement that the constitution was officially dead.
Apparently, according to Straw, the assassin was Dutch premier Jan-Peter Balkenende, who had adamantly refused, under any circumstances, to resubmit the constitution to a referendum in his country.
However, there were then no indications from Straw that the "colleagues" have abandoned their ambitions to bring in the constitution. It was taken as a "given" that the process of implementation will simply be chanelled through "other means".
Then, during the promised further statement, Straw was "evasive" on the matter of the constitution, preferring to talk about the budget and the rebate. All he would say was that, "there is a difference in view between the peoples and their leaders", refusing to confirm or deny that the constitution was "dead".
An observer present remarked that Straw seemed not so much to be ignoring the "elephant in the room" as trying to ignore the stinking corpse. It was "surreal", we were told.