A real-life example while Binding Citizen Referenda are complete madness

And yes, I’m talking to you, Conservative Party, for having it as one of your policy planks.

The boat the internet dubbed ‘Boaty McBoatface’ is unlikely to take to the seas bearing such a unique name.

The UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) last month asked the public to vote on a name for its new vessel. It didn’t take long for pranksters to hijack the process, suggesting Boaty McBoatface.

The idea was to get the public interested in the boat’s mission, which worked — at least for a few days.

Yesterday the NERC revealed the results of the public vote. Boaty McBoatface won easily, with 124,109 votes. Second-place was RRS Poppy-Mai, named for a 16-month-old toddler with cancer, with 34,371 votes.

A suggestion to name it after Antarctic explorer Henry Worsley came third, ‘It’s Bloody Cold Here’ fourth, and RRS David Attenborough in fifth. In all there were about 7000 suggestions.

UK Minister for Science Jo Johnson isn’t impressed with the public’s choice.

“The new royal research ship will be sailing into the world’s iciest waters to address global challenges that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, including global warming, the melting of polar ice and rising sea levels,” he says.

“That’s why we want a name that lasts longer than a social media news cycle and reflects the serious nature of the science it will be doing.”

It is a great example how issues can be captured by special interest groups.   Just look at Red Peak for example, it was captured by the left and the media and Key buckled and altered the pre-agreed process just to let it have a go.

There is a reason we don’t run a family using binding referendums.  There is a component of wisdom and experience in any kind of decision making that can’t be left to a referendum.

As for Boaty McBoatface, I think NERC should suck it up and use that name.  It will in fact become exactly what they hoped it would be: an ambassador for the work they do.  By calling it Henry Worsley they will sink back into the very obscurity they were trying to prevent in the first place.



– Newshub


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  • jonno1

    UK Minister for Science Jo Johnson says: “The new royal research ship will … address global challenges that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, including global warming, the melting of polar ice and rising sea levels.” Minister for Science? So how about he employs a bit of scientific method instead of green-speak! BTW I have no problem with proper research, provided the information gained is disseminated truthfully.

    Of course I may be unfairly maligning this gentleman; perhaps his goal is in fact to disprove all that CAGW nonsense. /sarc

    • Orca

      I think the real problem was that the name “RSS Al-Gore Sucks Donkey Balls” was already taken.

    • Brian Dingwall

      Hundreds of millions of people? Bet she can’t name even one……..

  • Brian Smaller

    I think Boaty McBoatface is a brilliant name. Imagine the merchandising, the kids TV Cartoons (Boaty McBoatface Saves Peter the Polar Bear – and sequels). They are missing a real opportunity here. Royalties could help pay for it’s research. I mean who wouldn’t want a Boaty McBoatface coffee mug or t-shirt?

    • Crowgirl

      It could loosen the stranglehold Thomas the Tank Engine has on that market.

      • Brian Smaller

        Have you seen the ship? Paint a face on it and it would look like it just set sail from the Island of Sodor.

        • Crowgirl

          Is that it in the picture above? It already looks like it’s smiling. Boaty McBoatface could totally work here and if they stick with it, it’s a marketing dream.

      • STAG

        Really? I would love to remove that steam powered demon of addictive rubbish television from our house!

  • Martin

    This is situation that calls to mind Ernest Hemmingway’s admonishment: “Always do sober what you say you’ll do drunk. That way you will learn to keep your mouth shut.” The boat should be known henceforth as BoatyMcBoatface. That way they’ll learn to keep their mouths shut.

  • David Moore

    NERC spend millions on public relations and engagement and this is the one time they have had a measurable response that was more than total indifference. Of course they should use the name.

  • Chris EM

    Research into global warming, melting ice caps and rising sea levels?
    Stupid research deserves a stupid name.

    • PersonOfColor:WHITE

      Boaty McMakeWork.

    • Orca

      Are you suggesting the “RSS Stupid is as Stupid Does”?

  • Lance Ralph

    My comment here has little to do with the post subject but I have been musing on what I believe to think of as the NZ sense of disconnect.
    Was it yesterday on the Herald website that I saw a reference to a Horsey McHorseface? Here in NZ we are desperate to feel connected to a wider world and so it is common to copy ‘memes’ from elsewhere: McGillicuddy Serious Party a straight ripoff of the Monster Raving Loony Party and countless other examples.
    This in part explains to me the motivations of some NZ journos and commentators, desperate to find NZ connections to any international matter and should the finding embarrass the politics opposed by the commentator – well so much the better.
    Hence the previously mentioned disgruntlement of various commentators who would like to think that Kiwis are deeply involved in the Panamanian tax haven debacle. Zero Kiwi names – must be a whitewash

  • duve

    But we do have binding referendums. We just had one on our flag. Also, we elect our parliamentary representatives every three years in a binding referendum, even though MMP has turned the final make up into a bit of a joke at times.

  • Orca

    Did the public of the UK chastise the NERC for the ridiculous amount it spent on the referendum?

  • Mark156

    I think the ships name is perfect.Which minority group could possibly be offended by it?Imagine if it was named after Captain Pugwash’s ….

    • Old Dig

      There is bound to be a minority group of boatfaced people who will take offence.

  • Diehard

    “Global warming scam” would have been my choice.