• 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)

    The public has not been irresponsible with their vote and as a result no results which have opposed unpractical or unsuitable have occurred. It could be argued that the representative democracy is not completely effective in the UK. The 'first past the post' electoral system that is used in the UK is not totally representative of the public.

  2. Peer reviewed

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

    3 star(s)

    There is also a danger that some political issues may be too complex to understand and pope may vote for a certain decision for superficial reasons without fully understanding the consequences, especially when he comes to issues of the EU and the possibility of changing the currency.

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

    were followed, there would be less room for criticism and more chance for direct democracy. Referendums shouldn't be used to simply side-step parliamentary procedures, and they should not be a substitute for parliamentary democracy; they should be used whenever the public show they have strong views on an issue, either through petitions or pressure groups.

  2. Kashmir Issue and Mediation.

    Dixon put forward two main proposals: 1) holding a plebiscite through the entire state, one region at a time, or 2) only holding a plebiscite in regions which were doubtful those that would definitely vote for accession to India or Pakistan would be allocated to those countries without a vote.

  1. 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.

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

    The Secretary of State for Scotland is based within the Department for Constitutional Affairs and remains a member of the UK Cabinet. The Scottish Parliament is not so intuitionally dominated by its executive as Westminster is, and there is no "leader of the House".

  1. Scottish devolution.

    * Transport - Provision and regulation of road, rail and marine transport are generally under Westminster control. * Social Security - Benefits and pensions. * Health - Reserved health matters include abortion, embryology, genetics, medicines and regulation of prices. Many matters are reserved so as to retain a uniform UK market or policy space which prevents cross border conflicts.

  2. Russia - political past, present and future

    Once the president is familiarized with a bill or a proposal he has an option either to accept or place a veto on the document. If a veto is placed, the document is returned back to the Duma for further reconsideration.

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