TOMORROW, sees a spectacle which is unique in British politics.

We will see the inaugural conference of a party promising to disband if it gets its way.

But, offering itself to the British electorate on that platform, Sir James Goldsmith's Referendum Party may achieve extinction anyway.

This is simply because the voters are not as obsessed by Europe as are he and his followers.

Furthermore, as the idiosyncratic presidential contender Ross Perot discovered in America - even when equipped with broader policy baggage than the single-issue Referendum Party - voters are not charmed by billionaire eccentrics with a bee in their bonnet. Yes, Sir James will enliven the coming general election.

His money has already been ploughed an expensive advertising campaign, drawn 50,000 members and will back 600 prospective candidates.

And, true, Europe and the question of Britain's sovereignty does concern many voters - but not all that much as yet.

What counts much more with them are issues such as the economy, health and education.

Europe, the single currency and Brussels bureaucracy are not the topics of pub talk.

Until they are, the Referendum Party - particularly with its elitist cast giving it the preachy air that voters resent - is destined to be a sideshow for amusement only.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.