It's a dangerous political game Cameron is playing. He is intelligent enough to know that it is absurd to think we can exist outside Europe, clever enough to play the numbers game with his party but assumes too much in terms of our influence with our partners.
He played the odds with Scotland and won. He went into the last general election and got a majority. My concern is that he is getting gung Ho and may think he can bury the little Englanders with a referendum. As we see with the Westlothian question, it will just become a neverendum.
I don't fear a referendum per se, but the levels of ignorance surrounding the debate are staggering. Of course we need to remain a strong partner in Europe. There is no alternative other than commissioning our inept military to regain the fucking colonies.
The op questions how the situation reflects democracy, I say it merely reflects politics.