Outdated reasoning

Christoph Bluth (Letters, 23 April) is being disingenuous when he states that the agreements allowing US military bases in Britain are not "completely undemocratic" because they were "informal". The 1948 decision of the Attlee government was never placed, at the time or subsequently, before parliament or the public. "Informal" consideration has usually meant the repetition of the phrase "special relationship", whatever the costs - economic, political and social - to Britain and to the international community. As for the justification that this agreement was required for US protection during the Berlin Crisis, surely that "emergency" rationale looks somewhat out of date 53 years later?

Scott Lucas
University of Birmingham

This article first appeared in the 07 May 2001 issue of the New Statesman, John Prescott: sinking fast