Getting the people to care is the hardest thing

Have your say

referenda are clearly in the air.

It might only be a couple of weeks since the Brexit vote, but today we report on calls for another poll.

City council Lib Dem group leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson says he believes the people should have their say on plans for the creation of a Solent-wide super authority.

The plan is supported by council leader Donna Jones, who believes it would give this area greater control of its own future.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson thinks it’s such a momentous decision that the people should be given the final decision.

He says he is worried that at the moment the plan is being discussed only by a small group of people – the city council’s cabinet – and that neither opposition parties, nor the electorate is having any input.

The plans will be discussed today in Portsmouth and it remains to be seen whether they will come to anything.

But it does raise an important point about local democracy.

Should local people be given a say on major decisions that might affect them, as the population was in the EU referendum?

Or should we trust the representatives we elect to make the correct decisions on our behalf?

After all, anyone who has ever been to a council meeting knows that decisions are rarely taken quickly and without great discussion.

One view is that allowing people to have a say might get more people engaged in local politics, an area that can suffer from not representing people across the age spectrum.

Whatever happens in this case over the summer, getting more people involved with local government would only be a good thing.

But it would certainly be a challenge.

A referendum might not be the way, but it’s certainly an issue that deserves discussion and consideration.