I’ve studied and worked in a number of countries including the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Ireland and Switzerland. In Germany referenda are banned at federal level under the 1949 Constitution. They had been used very effectively in the 1930s by Hitler and the NAZI party to subvert democracy. Right-wing populist, nationalistic and racist arguments can be very persuasive and not just in Germany. My father, Kevin Danaher, studied for his PhD from 1937 to July 1939 at the Universities of Berlin and Leipzig. He saw this first hand and was able to attend the 1938 Nuremberg Rally. He was both fascinated and frightened by the power Hitler had over the crowd; a sort of mass hypnotism. He said that you could bump into Hermann Göring most nights on the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin after drinking with his Nazi cronies at 2:00 am and that he had exchanged pleasantries with him on a number of occasions (safest to be courteous). He left Germany in July 1939 without completing his PhD.