Will of the people and will of MPs

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From: Allan Davies, Heathfield Court, Grimsby.

IN his article (The Yorkshire Post, April 17), Austin Mitchell MP said that MPs should decide things for themselves, and then in your leader you quoted his words approvingly, emphasising an MP’s independence.

In doing so, you confirmed the Burkean view that an MP is an elected representative who, in Burke’s words, owes his constituents his judgement, nothing more, nothing less. As such, he cannot be a mandated delegate, for if he were, he would have to forfeit his independence of mind.

This Burkean view has stood Parliament in good stead for many years. It is the cornerstone of an independent Parliament and is incompatible with the idea of a referendum. Assume (as is likely) that in a referendum on the EU, a majority vote for withdrawal, but that a majority of MPs (who Burke would regard as better informed than their constituents) held that continued membership of the EU was in the UK’s best interests.

How then should MPs vote? Do they suspend their better judgement? Or do they assert their independence, putting themselves at odds with the electorate? If they do defer to the voters, who accepts responsibility for the outcome?

All of this poses a serious dilemma which so far as I am aware, has never been discussed.

From: JD Billcliffe, Wellin Lane, Edwalton, Nottingham.

WILLIAM Hague’s article on the Ukraine crisis (The Yorkshire Post, April 17) is very enthusiastic about Western democracy. The question is – how democratic is the UK?

We are granted a trip to the polling station every four or five years to elect our MP but however you vote in, for example, Barnsley you are going to get a Labour member selected by the local party caucus or even HQ on occasions.

The same applies to safe Conservative seats since we do not have American-style primaries. Therefore the composition of Parliament and hence the Government is determined in about a couple of hundred marginals.

The House of Lords is not elected, neither are quangos which play an enormous part in our lives.

So what about our local authorities? We elect our councillors but they must dance to the Government’s tune.

The UK is not really a democracy; we are ruled by a dreadful triumvirate of professional politicians, bureaucrats and financiers.

A final thought – if Mr Hague is so keen for Ukrainians to decide on sovereignty, why is the Government of which he is a member so reluctant to let the people of the UK have their say on the EU?

From: Paul Morley, Ribblesdale Estate, Long Preston, Skipton.

DAVID Cameron proclaims his faith and states that the UK is still a predominantly, and very tolerant, Christian country.

As soon as he does this, over 50 so-called intellectuals call him divisive and accuse him of upsetting people of other or no faiths. So typical of the intolerance of these people who think their few years on this planet give them more knowledge and insight into life than the Church has after over 2,000 years.

Perhaps the Church doesn’t always get things right and today’s politicians rarely seem to get anything right but we are nominally still a Christian country. If we weren’t so many people from other faiths would not choose to live here.

These misguided metropolitan intellectuals should visit a few different countries around the world and try spouting their thoughts on faith and see where it gets them. They could start in Sri Lanka where a British woman has just been deported for having the temerity to have a tattoo of Buddha on her body – best if the Beckhams and a few other tattooed celebs give Sri Lanka a miss as well.

The politics of coal mining

From: Don Burslam, Elm Road, Dewsbury Moor, Dewsbury.

I YIELD to no one in my admiration of our magnificent miners for doing such a dangerous and unpleasant job with such enthusiasm and camaraderie.

I regret to say, however, that the era of mining is now virtually at an end at any rate in the UK. The villain of the piece is the market. It is quite clear that our requirements so far as coal is concerned can quite adequately and more cheaply be met by importing it from other countries. I can understand miners putting on pressure to try to save their jobs but they are swimming against the stream. There are also environmental issues over the use of fossil fuels.

The argument that the Ukraine crisis ought to affect closure of the few remaining pits seems to lack substance even to the point of complete irrelevance.

From: Mr TJ Hulse, Melton Old Road, Melton, North Ferriby.

IT seems the Government hasn’t learned any lessons about coal and what happened in the 1960s.

British Rail scrapped all its steam engines, some as young as five years old in favour of diesel oil and then found it was hard to obtain, having to import it all.

The present policy of obtaining 40 per cent of our coal from Russia is madness.

It looks as though they will shortly become our enemies. Far better to mine the vast amounts of coal in this country.

But this Government doesn’t care about the hardworking communities that keep our power stations going, they only care about profits.