Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Political Naivete of Lord Pearson

On Monday, St Andrew's day, Alec Salmond, the ablest current UK politician for my money, announced his plans to hold a referendum in Scotland on in or out of the Union. Alec was very clear on one point that seems to have escaped Lord P viz, under the British Constitution a referendum is only consultative and cannot bind the government of the day to the action approved by the electorate. Only a vote in Parliament in Lords and Commons and signed off by the Queen has the force of law. The Parliament Act means the Lords can theoretically thwart the will of the Commons for one year but of course they would be inviting their own dissolution if they invoked this power.

Hence Lord P's claim if we get an out vote in a referendum UKIP have won and can disband is complete bollocks. The Government can fall back on the same argument as Heath used in 72 not to grant a referendum, ie that we have a parliamentary system, parliament is sovereign and only a vote in parliament can repeal the 72 European Community Act. As I said earlier this week its only bums on green leather that can get us out of the EU.

How different it is in Switzerland where, against the wishes of the Swiss government, media and the great and the good of the Swiss establishment the electorate cheerfully voted to stop the building of Islamic minarets as they were basically un-Swiss. That binds the Swiss government to that action. I wish we had the same system here.

Even that is not the end of the story. Today the DT reports the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, one Navi Pallay, claiming the ban was the product of scaremongering.

"I hesitate to condemn a democratic vote, but I have no hesitation at all in condemning the anti-foreigner scaremongering that has characterised political campaigns in a number of countries including Switzerland which helps produce reults like this."

Perhaps Mr Pallay would like to condemn the Saudis who arrest Christians for carrying the bible and a religion which condems those Muslims who convert to another religion to death plus a horde of other human rights violations especially for women!

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