quote of the week

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 January, 2010, 12:00am

'I hope that the people of these two countries and their political leaders will, in keeping with the long-standing democratic traditions of Britain and the Netherlands, acknowledge that a referendum is a democratic way of making a decision.'

Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, speaking on his decision to allow Icelanders to vote on a bill which would pay the country's debt


The 'people of these two countries' are the British and the Dutch. Iceland owes them a lot of money. Dutch and British people had saved their money in Iceland's banks. When the banks failed, they lost their savings. Iceland had promised to pay them back the money they lost. But in doing that they would give the debt to the ordinary citizens.

The 'long-standing democratic traditions' refer to European countries allowing their people to have a say on how their country is run.

A referendum is a vote - yes or no - on an issue.