RAY Fleming's statement over the Irish population's rejection of the Lisbon Treaty that leaves them the odd man out (Looking Around Saturday) can be looked at from a completely different angle. Out of the 27 members of the Union only 3 1/2 countries allowed their population to vote on the issue France, Holland and the latest Ireland. The ½ was the UK - Blair promised but Brown reneged. All have voted against the treaty. Hardly the odd man out here then! The Netherlands government promised that it would abide by a decisive result, provided turnout exceeded 30%. Official results say that 61.6% of voters rejected the Constitution, on a turnout of 63.3%. Apparently in Dutch mathematics 2/3 of voters is not substantial as the government has gone ahead with the treaty - as has France despite the views of their electorate. I wrote to the Bulletin in June just after the Irish vote that their Government did not so much seek public approval but was obliged by their constitution to have a referendum. I surmised that they would continue to have them until voter fatigue and/or apathy gives them the correct answer. Just 6 months later preparation for another referendum is already underway. No wonder voters are skeptical about the EEC's commitment to democracy.
Ray remarks that in their next referendum the decision will then, again, be democratically theirs. It will and will continue to be at subsequent votes until they see EEC sense. The use of a referendum is political little to do with democracy. Westminster is no better than Brussels. 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. Blair was coerced into promising a referendum to get out of a corner with his party. Brown reneged on the 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. Referendums are as welcome to MPs as Christmas is to Turkeys. Taken to their logical conclusion they could make MPs redundant. In my opinion a parliamentary decision over the Lisbon Treaty is necessary as the majority of the population (me included) has neither the time nor the ability to assess this monster document. This is exactly what our MPs their Civil Servants are employed for. 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 EEC, pro treaty and anti hanging.
Mike Lillico, Playa de Palma
WE are looking forward to joining you for a six week self catering break in March/April next year, but must admit it is looking very frightening because of the increasing costs of every thing, every where. One of our concerns being unable to fix a transfer price from the airport to our destination in Santa Ponsa. Others being the cost of food and eating out when we reach you etc.
We will still be joining you, along with many others, and know we will still enjoy your company, even if we have to slim a bit. Please don't despair, things will come good for us all.
Best regards Mr & Mrs Bagnall, England