Swiss on a democracy roll

Three cheers for Switzerland for having three referendums last month as a result of petitions from the Swiss people.

This is real democracy in action. Each referendum was triggered by the collection of 100,000 signatures (the equivalent for the UK is about 750,000 signatures and for Scotland perhaps 65,000). Had any of the votes been carried, the Swiss federal government would have had to change the law to implement them.

Here in Britain, referenda happen only when it suits our politicians, not when the people demand them. So despite strong support for a referendum on leaving the EU, the political class has largely chosen to ignore the issue.

If we in Scotland had the power to force our political class to give us a referendum, I have no doubt that the Named Person Scheme, which effectively gives every child in the country a social worker, would be repealed.

We should learn from the Swiss to trust the people and introduce petition-driven referenda at Westminster, Holyrood and local authority level.

Otto Inglis

Inveralmond Grove

Edinburgh