Swiss on a roll

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Three cheers for Switzerland for having three referendums at the weekend as a result of 
petitions from the Swiss people (your report, 1 December). 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, referendums happen only when it suits our politicians, not when the people demand them. So despite the 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repealed.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, trust the people and introduce petition-driven referendums at Westminster, Holyrood and local authority levels.

Otto Inglis

Inveralmond Grove

Edinburgh