Monday, 27 June 2016

Referendums and constitutional change

Ever since the referendum was called I have had major reservations about the way in which the referenum was staged. The closeness of the result and the fact that the promises of the leave campaign have unravelled in the space of 48 hours has not helped. It is clear that the Leave campaign(s) mislead the public. Nigel Farage's admission that the the claim of £350 million a week for the NHS was nonsense has shown just how dishonest the whole thing was. If you buy a washing machine under the sale of goods act and you find that the seller lied, you can get a remedy under the sale of goods act, but apparently this doesn't apply in elections and referendums.

I am not one who will be signing a petition or calling for a rerun of the last referendum.  I do however believe that the UK people should get a vote on whatever the new deal is. At that point we should be given a choice to go for the new deal or stick with the EU. That way whatever happens there is a clear mandate from the people of the UK.You can't ignore a democratic vote, but the alternative was never spelled out. Lets see the alternative and then make a proper informed decision. One where both sides have to tell the truth.

And finally a couple of observations on the process. I beieve that for a referendum, voting should be compulsory with a "none of the above" options. For a vote to be carried, a minimum of 50% of all votes should be carried. I also believe that as it is so fundamental a change that every UK citizen should have a vote. By this I mean that this includes everyone, from newborn babies upwards. Of course a newborn baby can't vote, so the legal guardians of all under 16's should be given the proxy vote. Ultimately the parents will have to answer to their children if they screw it up. It is ridiculous that a 99 year old who may be dead tomorrow has a say, but my son who is 16 and will have to live with this for decades doesn't. If in 30 years a parent has to explain themselves to their children for having cast a vote the child disagreed with, that is surely better than the child having had no say and no chance to shout at someone for being an idiot.

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