YP Letters: We must avoid having serial referendums in perpetuity

From: JG Riseley, Harcourt Drive, Harrogate.

Should there be a second referendum on Britain's EU membership?

THERE are still a few people calling for another referendum on our EU membership and one on Scotland’s membership of the UK. What, short of the passage of a quarter of a century and the emergence of new generation and a new situation, could render this acceptable?

We most emphatically need to avoid falling into such models as “We’ll keep on asking you until you get the answer right” and “democracy is like a tram – you ride it until it takes you where you want to go and then get off”.

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What was designed, sold and accepted as a definitive one-off test cannot credibly be replaced by another one-off test; only one referendum on a given question can be a one-off. To try repeating it would be either to grant a privileged position to the losing side or to usher in serial referendums in perpetuity.

The latter option is perhaps slightly less daunting if we consider holding our EU referendums on General Election days and our Scottish independence referendums on Scottish Parliamentary Election days, so we are not subjected to additional periods of campaigning for these. We might want to require two consecutive wins to produce a change.

One might argue that such a system would be preferable to one in which our referendum decisions are considered subordinate to the mandate of a new government gained through a General Election. Such elections can be won on 37 per cent of a smaller turnout, giving greater potential for flip-flopping in and out. On either approach, an early attempt at re-entry is liable only to mire us in prolonged indecision.

From: Tony Lazenby, Rye Croft, Tickhill, Doncaster.

LET’S stop this pathetic carping about the EU referendum.

At 79 years of age, I’ve come through a world war, tough economic downturns, and – being a northerner – weathered hard times beyond the experience of our more fortunate southern neighbours. We are a nation with a proud tradition. So come on, stop moaning and show the world what we’re made of!

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

WE are told a debate is to be held to discuss a petition for a second referendum. This would be like bolting the stable door after the EU horse has bolted. I take the view that in complicated questions such as our relations with Europe, a special responsibility rests on politicians to steer us in the right direction.