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Nothing wrong with the holding of referenda

Published 14/01/2016

Oh Lord. Please deliver us from people like Dennis Kennedy ('Weak-willed Cameron's Euro gamble could rip UK asunder, Debate NI, Jan 7).

Mr Kennedy laments the weakening of the British constitution/sovereignty of Parliament by the mere action of holding a referendum. In my opinion Mr Kennedy appears to be perpetuating the fallacy that the political elite, many of whom have never held a proper job in the real world, know what is good for us, "the people". Mr Kennedy then, perhaps in an attempt to justify this potentially arrogant position, quotes figures indicating that in various Irish referenda since 1973 onwards "none has been approved or rejected by a majority of the people".

It may surprise Mr Kennedy, but in the Irish general elections since 1973 the winning party only garnered votes from 25-38% of the electorate. So, if the majority of "the people" did not approve the successive governments, how can they be better placed to make decisions on how to govern "the people"?

It would be my understanding that, in a parliamentary democracy, politicians are meant to represent the views of the majority of their constituents. What on Earth is wrong with asking "the people" what they want?

Eurosceptic

Belfast

Belfast Telegraph

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