Dear Sir
RAY Fleming has written several times over referendums (the last on Saturday) asking if they are democratic or even sensible due to the complex nature of the questions.

Their use is political – little to do with democracy or practicality. They are as welcome to MPs as Christmas is to Turkeys. With modern techniques we could have the whole population choose on-line through their TV. On a daily basis the bills going through Parliament could be voted on after Coronation Street. If implemented MPs would be largely redundant. Politicians advocate referenda as a last resort. The only UK wide referendum was in 1975 over continued membership of the EU. The Prime Minister Harold Wilson was in favour of remaining in but his party wasn't. A few months earlier at a special Labour conference the delegates voted 2 to 1 against. At that time the Conservatives were pro-market (not now) but for the PM to depend on the Opposition was akin to parliamentary suicide so he opted for a referendum for purely political ends – not democratic.

Concerning the current referendum over the new EEC treaty the majority of the population (me included) has neither the time nor the ability to assess this monster complex treaty. This is exactly what our MPs - their Civil Servants - are employed for. Blair was coerced into promising a referendum to get out of a corner with his party. Brown reneged on this promise as he believed the vote would be against his wishes. Neither was interested in a democratic gauge of opinion on the EEC just short term political survival. Europe and Brussels are no different. We have had three EEC Treaty referendums - all against. This has been of little relevance for the French and Dutch governments who have gone ahead to adopt the treaty ignoring the wishes of their people. The Irish Government is obliged by their constitution to have a referendum. They will continue to have them until voter fatigue and/or apathy gives them the “correct” answer.

There are decisions which the public are competent to take, simple moral questions such as the death penalty. Politicians will not delegate this to their constituents for the same selfish reason - the country is for, while Westminster is against. Again democracy is not a consideration.

In case anyone prejudges my opinions I am pro-treaty and anti-hanging.
Mike Lillico, Playa de Palma

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