THE idea of a referendum seems to me to be a good idea. We have a referendum on the Government and the opposition every four or five years.

Scotland is about to have one. Many people want a referendum on Europe, though they will only get one if the Conservatives win the next election.

There are constantly surveys, polls, focus groups, and canvassing by the political parties and other bodies. Whenever there is a big controversy people start demanding consultation or referendum.

I can think of subjects such as the proposed sale of Marchwood military port, bicycles in the New Forest, Dibden Bay, a casino in Southampton, fluoridation, the proposed Tescos in Romsey (now dropped), local government boundary changes, parking charges, service charges for council tenants, and many planning proposals.

So ascertaining the views of the people cannot be such a bad idea. Online referendums must be an easy process these days.

I notice that whenever merits in the parliamentary candidate of Royston Smith emerge, that he is a local man born and bred and is in favour of finding out what the people think, his political opponents immediately rush to rubbish what he says, irrespective of the merits.