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

Referendums. Although Referendums can provide clear decisive answers on difficult political issues, they also have many disadvantages to them.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Past Paper Question on Referenda. 1/ A referendum is a vote on a single issue that is put before the electorate by the government, usually in the form of a question that requires a yes or no answer. Contrastingly an election is the process by which the people of an area (constituency) choose one of many candidates contesting elections, as their representative to hold official offices. They do so by casting their votes, so an election is the choosing of representatives by the people. In a referendum the decision of the electorate is not binding, as the government aren't bound by the result. However, in an election, the result of the voting is final. Another difference is that an election is not a decision on a single issue, but a decision on which representative has a favoured opinion on many issues. In this way an election affects a far broader number of issues, whereas a referendum is usually just addressing one main issue. ...read more.

Middle

Unlike the Welsh referendum (1997) turnout was high suggesting a lack of voter apathy and thus a real connection from the electorate to this issue. The result of this referendum is a clear YES and reinforced the importance and usefulness of a referendum on simple answer (but complicated) issues. The government in response to this result passed the Northern Ireland Act 1998. The Scottish referendum in 1997 was a pre-legislative referendum ,over whether there was support for the creation of a parliament for Scotland and whether there was support for a parliament with tax varying powers. Voter turnout was adequate with 60.1% voting and the result was once again a decisive one with 74.3% voting YES and 25.7% voting No. The electorate were well informed and therefore showed great interest in the political issue, as opposed to previous referendums (1979 -far more indecisive result). The Scottish public voted in favour for tax raising powers for the Scottish parliament and therefore, n response to the majority voting for both proposals, the United Kingdom Parliament passed the Scotland Act in 1998, creating the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive. ...read more.

Conclusion

Referendums are also victim to the media and other agencies who can significantly influence a result, making them invalid or causing "unjustified" change in opinion e.g. Rich pressure groups, who may cause voters to be swayed by emotion rather than reason. A regular occurrence with referendums however, is that of low turnout and voter apathy towards issues. This can harm the referendum by creating a result lacking in credibility. An example of low turnout and voter apathy is the November 2004 referendum on whether there should be a North East Assembly; here there was only a 48% turnout indicating a fairly low level of interest on the subject and high levels of voter apathy. This meant that the result (a resounding no by 78%) lack validity. A concluding failure of referenda is that the decisions made are not final, as the government can go back on them if they want. This undermines the whole process and creates a weakened system of representative democracy. Hari Sethi Gov/Politics Mr Hitching 11/10/07 ...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)

    Perhaps the most important of referenda is that referendums are a form of direct form of democracy. This means that the population has a fair say in the run of the state and are rightly embodied. There are on the other hand some disadvantages to the holding of referenda.

  2. Peer reviewed

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

    3 star(s)

    be won such as the 40% vote in favour of the whole electorate, not just those who did vote, that was set in the 1979 devolution referendums. Government may set these conditions in order to receive the outcome that they would like to get.

  1. Arguments for and Against the use of Referendums in the UK

    For example, the issue of fox hunting has become extremely controversial, and a referendum would easily produce a clear outcome. In the referendum for Wales, the referendum could have easily produced the opposite outcome if the campaign had been fairer - this is a perfect example of the government almost abusing the power they had over the referendum.

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

    Since issues involving Scotland alone can now be dealt with by the Scottish Parliament it has reduced the workload of the British Parliament thus making the introduction of any legislation much more efficient for the whole of the UK. Scotland and Wales have been able to introduce new policies in order to do what is best for their people.

  1. Scottish devolution.

    * Culture, media and sport - Edinburgh has primary and secondary legislative powers over the arts, sport and language. Control over broadcasting and the National Lottery remains in London * Economic development - Primary and secondary powers have been devolved.

  2. Kashmir Issue and Mediation.

    Of course, the Indian side accuses Pakistan of using the US to cut its own military losses. The fact of the matter remains that the perception of both sides is that the UN was a mechanism used to further their own narrow national interests, and that the other side was playing the same game9.

  1. A referendum is a vote made by the public on a particular issue and ...

    In that if parties cannot agree on certain topics than a referendum is a coherent solution to this problem as a third source, ie - the public may express their opinions through a referendum in order to unite the parties on these split issues.

  2. Minority Rights, Identity Politics and Gender in Bangladesh: Current Problems and Issues

    Bangladesh government and Bangladeshis abroad 21st February, which was celebrated in Bangladesh as the Bengali Language Martyrs Day, was declared by UNESCO to become the International Mother Language day in the year 2000. Although done more to get international fame than out of serious consideration for minority languages, it did

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