From Prof Willem H. Buiter.
Sir, In response to Alan Pavelin (Letters, June 7): I proposed that referendums be held for a revised European Union constitutional treaty or revision only if a referendum was part of the arrangements for the original treaty establishing a constitution for Europe. Respect for democratic practices and processes requires that one does not change the rules of the game when one fears losing a vote.
During his term as mayor of Istanbul, before he discovered democracy, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now prime minister of Turkey, is reported to have said: "Democracy is like a streetcar. You ride it until you arrive at your destination and then you step off." The attitude of the EU establishment towards the voting procedures for ratifying or rejecting EU treaties or constitutions is similar. First, they keep us voting till they get the "right" result; that is, the result they want. When that fails, they propose to change the voting procedures and processes until they get what they want. Then the opportunities for voting will stop.
Willem H. Buiter,
Professor of European Political Economy,
London School of Economics