Whelan responds: Passing the buck – Referendums don’t mean people govern

In his previous instalment, Paul Whelan spoke about how Brexit split a nation. It was a piece that generated lots of feedback with comments like “extraordinarily presumptuous and arrogant” (take a look at the others). This is his response, looking at the reliability of referendums. – Stuart Lowman

By Paul Whelan*

Following David Cameron’s triumph in the Brexit referendum, which enabled the British people to vote for or against almost anything besides the issue, the new Tory prime minister intends to follow up with three further referendums. These will decide:

Paul Whelan
Paul Whelan

1] Does God exist? If the people decide S/He doesn’t, Boris Johnson will assure members of all faiths that government will not pull down churches, mosques and synagogues immediately. Rather they will all fall into ruin over a period of time that will become clear to people as they go along;

2] Should capital punishment be restored? In the certain event of a Yes decision here, executions will be made retroactive to 1910, to protect everyone’s democratic rights and safety;

2a] What is the best means of execution? After the Yes vote to 2], there will be a second referendum. This is not, as some people may imagine, to reverse the first one, but to guarantee strict democracy again by allowing people a free vote between hanging, poison injection and shooting. They will not be able to opt for public executions. Some MPs think that is going too far;

finally 3] Should England annex Scotland and Northern Ireland? That would guard against these awkward provinces deciding for themselves to stay in the EU or, indeed, deciding anything. If this regrettably calls for the use of force, the government wishes to reassure the world the Treasury and armed forces have been laying contingency plans for invasion since October last year.

However, an official statement confirms there is not going to be a referendum on whether the entire Tory government should resign. Though useful to pass the buck from time to time, referendums do not mean the people govern the country.

  • Paul Whelan is a political analyst and freelance writer. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics in international history and politics.