Recently retired UK Supreme Court justice Lord Jonathan Sumption has been giving the 2019 Reith Lectures in the last few weeks. BBC Radio has broadcasted two out of five episodes so far. Check out my earlier post “2019 Reith Lectures by Jonathan Sumption” for links to the lectures.
BH: (BBC radio Host): If representative democracy is so effective as you argued that it is.
JS (Jonathan Sumption): I accept that it is not always.
JS: Yes, parliament can do many things that are unwise, that are inconsistent with the way democracies ought to work. I’m certainly not suggesting the referendum was unlawful. I’m simply suggesting that it was extremely unwise and that the last three years are an illustration of quite a lot of the reasons why.
BH: OK, you are not a fan, I get that.
JS: I’m not a fan of referendums, full stop.
BH: Well, that answer the second thing. To get us out of this mess, do we need a second referendum.
JS: Well, I don’t think we should have the first.
BH: But we had it now. So now how do …
JS: Let me finish my sentence. I don’t think we should have the first. But having had the first, it may well be that the only way that we can get out of the mess created by the first is to have another one. But the moral is not to have as many referendums as possible. The moral is to have none at all.