Brexit too complicated for referendum, says Jared Diamond

Brexit was too complex to be decided by referendum and should have been left in the hands of elected representatives, not voters, Jared Diamond has said.

Speaking at the Hay festival on Saturday about his latest book, Upheaval, an analysis of world crises, the US historian said both individuals and nations could solve crises by “having a model of someone or a country who had a similar problem and solved it successfully”.

Britain had “little experience” with national referendums before the 2016 vote, he said, having only held two: the 1975 vote to remain in the European common market, and the 2011 vote on the UK’s parliamentary voting system. However, he said, in 2016 Britain could have looked overseas for examples of best practice, including Wisconsin and California in the US, two states that regularly hold referendums, and Italy, which has held more than 70 national referendums since 1946. S

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