Readers' letters

Let's avoid a system of serial referendums

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 31st July 2016, 9:44 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:56 pm

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.”

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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. 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.

JG Riseley, address supplied

Thanks for Ode to Joy

Three days after the result of the EU referendum was announced, a mixed group of people met in Lancaster to sing the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

This was arranged at very short notice, beginning as an opportunity for people who had voted to Remain to sing together, but then opening up to include Leave voters as well. It took place in a spirit of quiet reconciliation, and was filmed.

Now that some of the dust is beginning to settle after the momentous recent events, I should like to thank everyone who kindly took part or helped afterwards.

The choir was coached (in an hour!) and conducted by Jude Glendinning, who also sang as part of the impromptu quartet; the film was made by Ray and Lauren, who worked with impressive speed and efficiency to edit and prepare it for distribution; Jon worked with flair to distribute it; and sincere thanks are also due to Liz and Ruth for joining the quartet with no previous notice and singing like professionals.

We are all grateful to the warden and deputy wardens of the Friends’ Meeting House for their co-operation and hospitality.

However, without each of those who came along to sing, often at just a few hours’ notice, this version of the Ode to Joy would never have happened, and would never have given pleasure to the many people around the world who have now viewed it.

You can find it by searching online for Sing for Europe, or as follows: You Tube: Sing Europe; Facebook: sing for europe; Twitter: @singforeurope

With my warmest thanks to everyone who helped to make this happen.

Pamela White, Lancaster