Tuesday 17 October 2017

John Downing: Why shouldn't governments be let take sides in referendums?

IT IS very tempting to call upon the Irish electorate to resign today. There are arguments for saying that we need a new population of voters -- ideally people who could get their carcasses around to the polling booth and indulge in the hard labour of wielding a pencil for a second to put a tick in a box.

But sentiments such as these will not help us understand what has happened over the past number of weeks. On Saturday, two out of three voters did not feel the need to go out and vote, and four out of 10 of those who did vote rejected this proposition aimed at enhancing children's rights.

It means that the Coalition Government definitely has some very practical political self-assessments to do. Its handling of this issue has been less than skilful, and it could very easily have ended in an embarrassing defeat.

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