Readers React: The Brexit disaster is a warning to California on ballot referendums

Brexit backer Nigel Farage speaks during a rally in London on Jan. 17.
(Leon Neal / Getty Images)

To the editor: Earlier, I agreed with the stance of the L.A. Times editorial board: British voters should get a chance to fix their Brexit mess by participating in another referendum. Now, I realize that popular democracy (referendums) is essentially incompatible with representative democracy (parliament).

Any referendum is necessarily a drastic distillation of a complex issue. It can never be a true expression of the people.

Voting for a representative of member of parliament says just who gets to decide. Fine. A vote on an issue or policy says ... what? What does 52% in favor mean? This is precisely why we have legislators.


So I say, no new referendum on Brexit. Prime Minister Theresa May should have Parliament cancel Brexit and start over. It is far more likely that a new referendum will leave the United Kingdom in another muddle and no better off.

There are many lessons here for California.

William N. Hoke, Manhattan Beach


To the editor: The caption under the photograph of May that ran in the print edition quotes the prime minister as saying that members of Parliament “know they have a duty to act in the national interest.”

This is a statement that should apply to all those impotent, enabling members of our Congress who refuse to rein in the abject chaos, dysfunction and corruption in this administration.

Partisan politics should stand aside in order to salvage what is left of this fragile and rapidly disintegrating democracy.

Penelope Burley, Santa Rosa Valley, Calif.

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