Don't Ask The Public What They Think: Nick Abbot

29 July 2017, 20:52 | Updated: 31 July 2017, 10:11


Biologist, professor, author and keen controversialist Richard Dawkins said that David Cameron’s decision to hold a referendum on Brexit was a bad an idea.

He said it was as bad an idea as the former PM walking on a public beach with his top off where children could see him.

He said that once seen, that image could not be unseen.

He didn't say that last part, I made that up, but he did criticise Cameron's referendum decision because it allowed people to make a “hugely complicated” decision on Brexit “on a whim”.

A whim is defined as a freakish fancy based on impulse. That is no way to decide the future of a country.

Dawkins was adamant the decision should never have been left in the hands of the general public.

I have met members of the general public and I can confirm that many of them should not be allowed to put their own socks on without supervision.

Dawkins said that the decision was enormously complicated and could not be boiled down to a simple 50-50 vote.

The huge ramifications and Byzantine consequences of the vote made it such that the electorate were unequipped to make such a momentous decision.

He said, “These are not matters that should be voted on a whim, on an impulse, by day-by-day people.”

We day-by-day people might not like it, but he's right.

You would not want the general public to make decisions about any forthcoming surgery you might have to get, or what person you should marry, so they should not be asked their opinion on matters that are too complicated for them to understand.

Economists with brains the size of planets find it hard to divine the correct course for a country to take.

The man picking his nose on the Clapham omnibus has as much chance of making the right decision for the benefit of Britain as he has of finding gold up his nostrils.

Professor Dawkins said there was a “great opportunity for emotion” in the referendum, which “clouded” the judgement of voters.

He said “It should have been done by people with sober reasoning, by people who had really looked into the evidence both ways.”

As opposed to people who had looked at an ad on the side of a bus.

There is some evidence that the decision was over the heads of the general public.

Just last year, the Telegraph reported that the traditional ‘three Rs’ are on the decline in this country, with over a quarter of adults having literacy levels so low that they may struggle to read their own wage slips.

The average reading age of the UK population is 9 years – that is, they have achieved the reading ability normally expected of a 9 year old.

The Sun is written to accommodate a reading age of 8, so they understood that all right.

According to government figures, 28 per cent of adults have a standard of literacy of level 1 or below, the equivalent of GCSE grades D-G, which used to be called a fail.

For numeracy, 29 per cent of adults scored the level 1 or below.

Around one in 20 adults have the literacy or numeracy levels of a five-year-old.

They could just about get through the Beano, but that's about their limit.

These are the people whose expert opinions David Cameron sought to determine the future course of the country.

Due to our poor education system, we the public might not be too bright, but he appears to be a stupid idiot.

If I were his parents, I would want my Eton money back.