Letter: Was 'Il Duce' right?

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Sir: The Conservative Government may like to know that their decision not to hold a referendum on Maastricht would have been supported by a famous European politician.

Can you imagine a war being declared by referendum? A referendum works splendidly when it is a question of choosing the most suitable place to put the village pump, but when the supreme interests of the people are at stake, even ultra-democratic governments take care not to refer them to the judgement of the people.

Mussolini wrote this in 1924 in his Prelude to Machiavelli's The Prince. One hates to think that he may have been right.

Yours faithfully,