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To what extent do you agree with the view that referendums should be used more widely in the UK?

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Introduction

To what extent do you agree with the view that referendums should be used more widely in the UK? Referendums provide a way for the public to have a direct influence on the legislative process. They are a perfect example of direct democracy in modern society. Other arguments for referendums include being a check on the government and increased political education. Arguments against include the great cost incurred through referendums, the eroding of parliamentary sovereignty and increased voter apathy due to the increased participation needed. An advantage of the use of referendums is that they are a powerful check on Governments without the need for a general election. ...read more.

Middle

The use of referendums can also help legitimise important issues made by a Government. An example of this is devolution. In the 1997 referendums on this issue, both Wales and Scotland voted in favour of devolution, thus giving consent to the Government to implement this and legitimising the decision. A DISADVANTAGE OF REFERENDUMS IS THAT THEY OFTEN HAVE A LOW TURNOUT, THEREFORE SERIOUSLY DISTORTING RESULTS. AN EXAMPLE OF THIS IS THE REFERENDUM FOR A MAYOR FOR LONDON. WHILST 72% VOTED YES, ONLY 33% OF THOSE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE ACTUALLY DID. THIS FAVOURED THE SUPPORTERS OF THE MAYOR AS PEOPLE ARE UNLIKELY TO VOTE IF THEY WANT TO KEEP THINGS THE SAME. ...read more.

Conclusion

THIS COULD AFFECT THE RESULTS OF NOT ONLY THE REFERENDUM, BUT FUTURE ELECTIONS AS THE TURNOUT WOULD BE REDUCED. THE REGULAR USE OF REFERENDUMS CAN ALSO CREATE MORE 'ENTRENCHED' LAWS, MEANING MORE REFERENDUMS MAY BE NEEDED IN THE FUTURE, ALL AT THE COST OF THE TAXPAYER. MANY ISSUES ARE TOO COMPLEX FOR A MERE YES OR NO VOTE, DESPITE THEM BEING AN IMPORTANT ISSUE WORTHY OF A REFERENDUM. THIS MEANS THAT OPINION POLLS MAY BE MORE SUITABLE AS NOT ONLY DOES IT MEAN THE PUBLIC DON'T HAVE TO GO OUT AND VOTE THEREFORE NOT INCREASING APATHY, IT ALSO REDUCES THE COST INCURRED. IN CONCLUSION, THE INCREASED USE OF REFERENDUMS WOULD NOT BE A GOOD IDEA. THE MAIN REASON FOR THIS REASONING IS THAT THE MAIN ADVANTAGE OF OUR CONSTITUTION IS THE FLEXIBILITY OF IT, BUT REFERENDUMS NEGATE THIS ADVANTAGE. ...read more.

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