60 Second: Why we should have more referendums


Why we should have more referendums.


We are beginning to find out, referendums (or referenda if you went to a posh school) are dangerous things.

Now that Parliament is crumbling, why don’t we just abolish the Commons and Lords and move to a government by referendums.

That’s more or less what the Swiss do and they seem to be thriving. 

The cuckoo-clock makers wanted a new fleet of fighter aircraft (at more than £30-£50 million a pop), the people said ‘no’. So it’s back to the take-off zone for the ministry of defence. 

To trigger a referendum all you need is 100,000 signatures – about 1% of the population. Transferred to the UK, that would be about 700,000 signatories. 


I am certain that there would be no problem at all getting that many people to have a referendum on Trident, HS2, Terminal 5 or Hinckley C.  Ironically the referendum  might speed up the process given the resistance of governments to approve these. In fairness to Mrs M she got two out of four in her first couple of months. 

So what else might we have a referendum on? The flugelhorn blowers can always give a good indication, so how about:

– The legislation of cannabis; the Swiss rolled up to vote two to one against;
– Flexible state pension age, allowing people to retire early. Nope – make old codgers work longer;
– The Swiss were also not that keen on enhanced legal protection for animals.

I think the Swiss use the referendums as a social occasion, its’s a great chance to catch up with your friends and go for a beer every few months or so.

Have a good weekend,


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