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Referendums in the UK

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Introduction

´╗┐Referendums in the UK Referendums are government proposals that are put forward by the electorate usually either to accept or reject proposals. Referendums are used as a form of direct democracy in the UK to either influence future parliaments to keep a proposal or to unite current parliaments under one policy. Referendums are considered as a direct form of democracy as the entire electorate vote on constitutional change. Referendums tend to be a Yes or No answer to the question. Referendums are made to make sure the question in no way influences the electorates vote. There have been 7 Major referendums from 1997 onward. These include the devolution of power to Wales and Scottland (both in 1997), Greater London Authority referendum in 1998, The good Friday Agreement in 1998, North East England devolution in 2004, Welsh Devolution referendum in 2011 and the Alternative Vote referendum in 2011. Most of these referendums have been held in the concerning of devolving power to whom it may concern with the exception of the Good Friday Agreement which was a peace treaty, which even then concerned the devolution of power to Northern Ireland. The Devolution of power in Scottland in 1997 was part of the Labour Manifesto and was a promise made after the failure of the first referendum due to the low voter turn out. ...read more.

Middle

Although the majority vote was 63.49% the turnout was considerebly low at 36.51% meaning the referendum isn't very legitimate, but the proposal was passed non the less. Finally, in 2011, one of the most catastrophic referendums was denied, the AV referendum. Av was a bad compromise proposed by the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats in the coalition, which the Liberals didn't want but had to accept anyway. The vote was a no majority with 67.9 Percent voting against the referendum than yes. The AV referendum had a large "No" campaign run, and was made out to be confusing and very ununderstandable. It could be argued because not even the Liberal Democrats wanted AV that it was doomed to fail from the start. Every constituency in the UK had a NO majority. In the UK, direct democracy is something that is used and played with like a play toy of government, usually used as a tool to gain popularity and nothing more. More direct democracy should definitely be implemented in the UK. The government tend to only propose referendums on things that will benefit them more and help them gain popularity or to bind the next government, as although UK referenda are not permenantly bindable and can be overturned by the next parliament, to do is severly frowned upon. ...read more.

Conclusion

This causes them to follow a recurring theme of party patriotism rather than conveying the true "wants" of society and the electorate, once again returning the the theme of the Iraq war. The conflict of interest between representatives in representative democracy can also be seen to be made less substantial in direct democracy - a example of this would be that representatives often get to vote on their own salaries, This does not support what the electorate thinks! It is the opposite. It is clear that representatives will always place the nature of themselves first, the wants of the electorate second, as was done in the expenses scandel, where politicians took the peoples money for every little thing possible, including but not limited to holiday homes, rubber ducks, condoms and bath plugs. Elected representatives often recruit incompetent individuals to positions of power depending on their loyalty to party leaders as opposed to a direct democracy, where everybody votes for people they think can do the job. The lack of accountability of representative actions in the case of not representing the interests of the people can also be punished by recalls of proposals and ideas. All the arguments for increasing direct democracy show that through more direct democracy, a fairer, more legitimate, more binding and more accountable governmental system is attained, with public order and opinion coinciding with the will of Government. ...read more.

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