Referendums are no way to run a country : LETTERS

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The Independent Online
From Mr Michael L .Rogers Sir: So, we may soon have a referendum ("Major opens door to referendum", 13 December). Before every one applauds this change from parliamentary democracy to the Swiss model, consider what we could be letting ourselves in for.

There are many recent decisions which could arguably have been put before the people, for example: privatisations (all), enoblement of ex-prime ministers, and MPs' pay rises. There are also many other issues that groups up to mob size would no doubt propose: capital punishment, foreign ownership of the media (including newspapers), should MPs be allowed paid second jobs, immigration policy, proportional representation, should income tax be lower and so on. The point is, surely, that if you

think that such topics are too complex to be decided by the public in general, you are agreeing that the parliamentary system is better, however flawed it is at present.

Of course, the vote we really need is a simple one to pose as a referendum: should there be a general election now? Unfortunately, the evidence from the only referendum held so far is that those who disagree with the result do not accept it.

Yours faithfully, MICHAEL L. ROGERS Sevenoaks, Kent 13 December