Letter: The party won't go quietly

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Andy Beckett's article on the Referendum Party carries the aroma of wish fulfilment ("Not even Jim can fix it now", 23 February). The only poll he mentions is by MORI, taken over eight months ago when the party had barely formed. It showed 0.5 per cent support. The poll published last week by James Capel was taken from 2,000 people nationwide who voted Conservative in 1992; 20 per cent said they were likely or certain to vote for the Referendum Party. A poll carried out in February by Harris for the Wirral South by-election showed 9 per cent support.

From where I witness things on the ground in east Kent and from what I hear from prospective candidates in constituencies throughout the country, things look very different to Andy Beckett's bleak view. Maybe my own judgment is immersed in wish fulfilment too, but only time will tell who is right.

To start a party from nothing; to present only one issue to the public; to field 550 prospective candidates; to gain ground, however disputable the amount gained - these things are in themselves a considerable achievement.

Any hopes that the Referendum Party will now go quietly away are vain. Other party stalwarts should remind themselves that all we seek is to re-empower their own successful candidates.

The pounds 200m yearly "information on Europe" budget from Brussels and the pounds 60m given by George Soros to "further European unification" places Sir James Goldsmith, with his pounds 20m, more in the role of a David than a Goliath.

John Aspinall

London SW1

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