OLIVER Cromwell was not celebrated for understatement, so he might well have uttered the words attributed to him on the dissolution of the Long Parliament (Letters, November 25).

Still, there were some decent chaps among the Rumpers, as there surely are among our present-day parliamentary scallywags.

We know what followed Cromwell’s inspiring rhetoric: the rule of the Saints. So I was disheartened to read, only a few days earlier, the suggestion that is what is needed today; a Parliament of ethical whiz kids, and these are obtainable. Latter-day Saints, you might say.

It would be a safer bet to assume that whoever claims sovereign power had better be watched. What is needed is a constitution that embodies that requirement: a constitution that affirms the power of democracy; the power of people rather than the power of political parties.

Like Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, Old Noll was adept at destroying faulty institutions, but a poor hand at creating viable alternatives.

History repeats itself, but only if we let it.

William Dixon Smith, Welland Rise, Acomb, York.