Democracy’s a wonderful thing for those of us lucky enough to have it, but it can also be a little bit bonkers, to the casual observer.
Switzerland’s ongoing efforts to buy 22 new fighters provides today’s example. The nation’s parliament late last year gave its approval to the proposed deal with Saab (company-sourced image below), but then came a pause while everyone waited to see whether the matter would face a public referendum.
Now we know that it will, with the vote to happen on Sunday, 18 May.
So, for a nation of roughly 8 million citizens, just how much opposition did it take to force this step? At least 50,000 signatures were required in support of a petition, and in the case of the one against the Gripen Fund Law the “no” campaign succeeded in getting almost 65,400. All power to the Swiss for having such a system in place, but I suspect that things would grind to a halt in the UK if we were to follow their model.
I’m guessing there might be the odd billboard and advert from industry appearing over the next four months. Just be sure to have your say, folks!