I HAVE voted in several referenda since they appeared on the political scene in 1975 and have been on the losing side many times. In the first referendum on the Common Market, I voted No to the question on joining this organisation, mainly because I was angry that no option had been given in the preceding election to vote for a party opposing entry. The next referendum I can remember was about keeping Scottish Water in public hands and I was pleased that only a tiny minority opposed this. Although the exercise was “unofficial”, the Government took note and we have been spared the fate of consumers in other parts of the UK. I voted for a Scottish Parliament in both referenda and was only mildly annoyed when the first one failed on the technicality of failing to get 40 per cent of the electorate in favour even though more than of those voting were. I feel that a major constitutional change requires more than a simple majority of those voting.

And so to more recent polls. I was on the losing side of the independence referendum while my wife was on the other side. No animosity there and I respect the result. Actually, although I have supported some form of home rule for Scotland since I was a teenager, I would have been unhappy if the result had been different and we had used a small majority as an excuse to leave the UK.

I now feel that there is no need for a re-run of the 2016 EU referendum. The voters have spoken and MPs should look carefully at the figures and understand why, in our representative democracy, it is unnecessary. A referendum is not a decision device. The voters can hardly have all the information necessary to make a decision and can be misled or “bribed” with false promises. A referendum is an opinion poll. The 2016 result suggests that the electorate does not like the EU, but fails to find out the reasons behind the opinions held, in particular which aspects of the EU they disliked. Also, the result was not clear-cut. It was a narrow win for the leavers, based only on valid votes cast. There were 17.4 million votes to leave, 16.1 million to remain and 13 million were invalid or not cast. The percentage of those voting to leave was 51.9 per cent of those voting but was only 37.5 per cent of the electorate.

It is now up to our MPs to consider the way forward which is in the best interests of the UK. They should remember the figure of actual support for leaving (only 37.5 per cent of those eligible to vote) and seek to withdraw from the Brexit process.

Ken Johnson,

Alves, West Gates Avenue, Lochwinnoch.

THANK you for publishing Alexander McQuarrie's letter (December 24) and thank you, Mr McQuarrie, for writing it. The letter enlightens the whole Brexit debate and makes it very clear where we are being led because, I think, most of the electorate do not know enough about this. They certainly were swayed by misinformation prior to the referendum. Had the facts of Mr McQuarrie's letter been clear then together with majority voting requirements, not to mention the disenfranchisement of a large number of entitled voters, the result could well have been very different.

I have always held the view that if one is a member of a club and for whatever reason it is becoming rule-bound with questionable restrictive practices becoming the norm, then it is better to stay and to do something constructive to change the bad policies with compromised new policies taking the best from the bad and developing the club for the benefit of all of its members.

I do believe that from March 29, 2019 the UK will become totally isolated for a generation at least.

I hope that all of the leaders in the Scottish and other devolved parliaments can see and read Mr McQuarrie's letter and perhaps Michael Russell can lead an action with these facts and still be able to do something for us and the UK while it remains.

Ian W Gray,

Low Cottage, Croftamie.

I CONFESS to not having read all (or any) of the rules regarding referendums. The problem here is that it seems few people really understand these rules. The public have assumed (wrongly it seems, according to Alexander McQuarrie) that the referendum result must be binding as it is the "will of the people". If this is not the case, exactly how can any referendum ever actually receive a truly binding vote? Was the Scottish independence referendum of 2014 only advisory too since there was no stipulation for a 60 per cent majority and all Scots not domiciled here did not get the vote yet EU citizens here and 16-17-year-olds did and why do the English not get a vote on the matter too as it would directly affect them?

Have the politicians unlocked Pandora's referendum box?

Dr Gerald Edwards,

Broom Road, Glasgow.

OWEN Kelly (Letters, December 26) refers repeatedly to parliamentary sovereignty. Parliament is a congregation of the delegates of the people. Sovereignty remains with, and is not transferable from, the people.

The people of the United Kingdom have voted collectively – one adult citizen/one vote – to leave the EU. Parliament must acknowledge the sovereignty of the people and implement the decision of the people.

I voted Remain, but I too must acknowledge the collective sovereignty of the people.

William Durward,

20 South Erskine Park, Bearsden.

MANY commentators in the press (down south) and on the Continent refer increasingly to the country as a global “joke” given the Brexit farce and antics recently in Westminster. But which country?

It is noticeable that the antics emanate predominantly from the English and cohort of DUP MPs in their Gdarene rush heading for the cliff edge.

The SNP phalanx has been a model of seriousness and decisive action culminating in the action leading to the European Court of Justice's judgement on Article 50.

It begs the question if we Scots are "better together" now in this Greater England; the incorporating Union aka UK is a misnomer. We must be realistic now. The Union is just a cover for an increasingly Anglo-driven chaos leading to a no-deal. As Theresa May’s deal is now a bad deal the former chant “no deal is better than a bad deal” is uppermost once again.

Leave the House of Commons to its antics, archaic drivel and chaos. The Union is holed below the waterline. We must not let “that lot” in the Commons, the May-Corbyn duopoly, destroy Scotland.

John Edgar,

1a Langmuir Quadrant, Kilmaurs.