• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Arguments for and Against the use of Referendums in the UK

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Arguments for and Against the use of Referendums in the UK Referendums are defined as being the submission of a political question to the direct vote of the electorate, whereas elections are defined as public choice of governmental representatives under a democratic system. Although both require the electorate to vote in a similar way using a ballot box in a polling station, they are in fact quite different. Elections require the voter to choose which MP and which political party they would prefer to form the government and run the country, for example the 1997 election where the electorate voted to bring the Labour Party lead by Tony Blair into power. Referendums, however, happen when the government in power decides to put a question to the public to find out their views on the issue, for example a referendum on the issue of whether Britain should join the single European currency is imminent. Referendums have been used much more widely in recent years, not only in Britain but all over the world, especially in liberal democracies where the government believes it is important to increase direct democracy. Even though the use of referendums has increased, there has been only eleven referendums in the past twenty five years, and almost half have took place while the present Labour government have been in office. ...read more.

Middle

Another disadvantage of referendum that falls into the unfairness category could be the accusation that governments use referendums to side-step parliamentary protocol i.e. stepping past Parliament by side-stepping its conventions and putting power directly in the hands of the electorate. An ex Conservative MP Jonathon Sayeed said 'Referendums are not a substitute for parliamentary democracy and must only be used sparingly'. Many people have accused the present Labour Government of abusing this convention and having four referendums in their first year of office. To overcome these criticisms of referendums, they should be governed by legislation. As the use of referendums has become much more common recently, both in Britain and many other places around the world, we have no rules governing their use. At present, the government decides when and on what issues they will be held so they become another political tool for the party in power. If a set of rules was passed, it may limit the government on their use of referendums, but it would make them a formal part of the political process, and would draw the attention back to the real reason of using them in the first place; to enhance fair direct democracy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Yes 71.7 No 28.9 81.0 1998 London Are you in favour of the Government's proposals for a Greater London Authority, made up of an elected mayor and a separately elected assembly? Yes 72.0 No 28.0 34.1 1997 Wales 1. I agree that there should be a Welsh Assembly; or 2. I do not agree that there should be a Welsh Assembly Yes 50.3 No 49.7 50.1 1997 Scotland 1. I agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament; or 2. I do not agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament 1. I agree that a Scottish Parliament should have tax-varying powers; or 2. I do not agree that a Scottish Parliament should have tax-varying powers Option 1. 74.3 Option 2. 25.7 Option 1. 63.5 Option 2. 36.5 60.4 1979 Wales Do you want the provisions of the Wales Act 1978 to be put into effect? Yes 20.3 No 79.7 58.8 1979 Scotland Do you want the provisions of the Scotland Act to be put into effect? Yes 51.6 No 48.4 63.8 1975 UK Do you think that the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)? Yes 67.2 No 32.8 64.5 1973 Northern Ireland 1.Do you want NI to remain part of the UK? Or 2. Do you want NI to be joined with the Republic of Ireland, outside of the UK? Option 1. 98.9 Option 2. 1.1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Evaluate the case for using Referenda to decide important issues in the UK

    4 star(s)

    It often leaves a large sector of the public unrepresented in matters. For example a constituency which is represented by a Lib-Dem MP who are under represented in the Houses of Parliament could be said to not be fairly represented.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Evaluate the case for using referenda to decide important issues in the UK

    3 star(s)

    Some people may have a tendency to vote passionately without the understanding of the true politics involved with the issue. It is clear from the examples that referendums are not always as conclusive as would be hoped. This is because there are often rules set on the majority that must

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the devolution process in Scotland and Wales?

    Devolution has been very expensive, especially in Scotland. The escalating costs of the construction of the new Parliament building has led to widespread criticism. It was opened in 2004, three years later than expected and its estimated final cost was around �409 million, a huge increase from the original budget of �100 million.

  2. Consider the arguments for and against retaining first-past-the-post for general elections

    These fears are well grounded, as Tony Blair makes no secret of his intentions to keep 21st century politics dominated by the centre-left. The Liberal Democrats are in favour of the Jenkins report's recommendations, and would probably prefer even more radical change.

  1. The advantages of the Uk having a constitutional monarchy are greater than the disadvantages. ...

    Meanwhile, monarchy takes part in many charitable activities. According to the report: 'The Queen and other members of the Royal Family have close associations with a wide range of charitable organisations covering many areas of national life. As patrons of over 3,200 charities, the Royal family visit a large number of charity organisations and projects each year.'ix It

  2. Scope of Parliamentary Sovereignty as defined by Dicey, and arguments against it by various ...

    But according to Lord Reid such ideas as Christian law has become obsolete and Parliamentary supremacy demonstrates. Parliament and the courts have been careful not to act so as to cause conflict between them. In the case of Pickin v British Railways Board [1974] the plaintiff questioned the court about the validity of the Private Railways Act.

  1. Should Referendums be used more widely? Why?

    The main one would be that if we have too many referendums they would lose their significance amongst the general public so the more referendums could mean less voting, because they may become tedious and so therefore would not represent whole nations views.

  2. In this essay I will explain the distinctive features of the Scottish political system, ...

    The upsurge in SNP victories at by elections seemed to be at the sacrifice of Labour candidates. The increase in SNP support was splitting labour support and not the Conservative party as expected. The main plank of the SNP platform is that Scotland would do much better economically outside the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work