On the day the British P.M. who launched the disastrous referendum which resulted in BREXIT, is submitting his resignation to Her Majesty, I feel it appropriate – exceptionally -to publish here an addendum to my post of June 25, “Counting Noses”. Scroll back to it and you’ll find, between two other posts touching the same subject, this post in which I criticize severely the wisdom of ever conducting a referendum, subject to the knee-jerk reaction of a populist vote. The reason is this : today, “L’Express” published an interview with Robert BADINTER, former French “Guardian of the Seals”, the State’s top legal authority, famous for his introduction in 1981, in Mitterrand’s Socialist government, of the bill abolishing Capital Punishment which put the guillotine into mothballs, who answered the question : “What is the best way to use a Referendum ?” His answer confirms my own :
“Abstain from it . . . A national referendum should remain the exception and be admitted only when it concerns international institutions or treaties. But we should beware of a national referendum of popular initiative. It opens the way to demagogues and populists.”
Readers will remember that I spoke of this political subject in the context of a reflection of running a referendum about Catholic doctrine among members of the Church. Not a good idea for either Church or State.