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

The UK would benefit greatly from the wider use of referendums. Discuss.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Robyn Ashton ?The UK would benefit greatly from the wider use of referendums.? Discuss (25 marks). Referendums are the holding of a ballot to the general public in which a question is posed calling upon them to pass judgement with a ?yes? or ?no? answer. Currently, referendums have only been held twice nationally; in 1975 on whether the UK should stay in the EEC and whether the AV system should be adopted. Referendums present advantages and disadvantages with the possibility of endangering or improving democracy. The principal turnout for is that referendums are a form of direct democracy being more conclusive and legitimate than parliamentary votes as everyone eligible to vote is given a voice. It is argued that a wider use of referendums would reconnect people with politics. The wording of referendums can be controversial as the choice of words can also be phrased in a way that influences the decision of voters, encouraging positive responses. ...read more.

Middle

For people who are not well-informed (and sometimes those who are), they can be easily swayed by the media and pressure groups, powerfully influencing and distorting the vote and not producing authentic results. For those with a lower literacy level a question can be difficult to answer and comprehend. For example, in 2011 the question proposed by the government was ?Do you want the UK to adopt the alternative vote system instead of first-past-the-post?? People who are not knowledgeable will likely on simplistic values or not at all. Many people will have limited knowledge and a lack of understanding on the electoral systems. This lack of awareness and understanding contribute to the low turnout and results in a small number of voters when there is no threshold applied. A wider use of referendums would encourage people to become more active, aware and interested in politics as participation has fallen greatly in recent years. ...read more.

Conclusion

In this time period governments can, for the most part, make decisions without any public consultation. There is therefore a danger that although these officials are elected as representatives, it is only the opposition parties and the checks and balances outlined in constitutions that prevent them from deviating from their original promises. Referendums allow the government to not only gauge public opinion on policy but also to make clear that the decisions they are making are in line with public attitude on issues concerning them, therefore providing another check against the power of government. Conclusively, referendums provide a vital direct link between government and the electorate which is otherwise unseen in representative democracies. They can help to promote political participation as well as creating a better informed electorate; they also strengthen democracy in modern society. Yet referendums, despite all of this are often criticised for the way in which they weaken elected bodies and do not provide a true gauge on public opinion, largely due to media influence. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United Kingdom 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 AS and A Level United Kingdom essays

  1. Government & Politics Revision Notes

    Effects It could be argued that AMS makes minority governments more likely, but this is a complicated issue. Traditionally, Labour was able to dominate the political scene in Scotland and Wales. If devolution had happened 30 or 40 years ago, it is likely that even using AMS, labour would have governed in Scotland Wales with majorities.

  2. Political Awareness

    Lord Irvine was educated at Inverness Academy and at Hutchesons' Boys' Grammar School in Glasgow before Glasgow University (where he joined the Labour Party). He graduated MA, LLB there. He then went on to Christ's College, Cambridge, where he graduated BA with 1st class Honours with distinction in Law, and LLB with 1st class Honours.

  1. To what extent would the wider use of referendums improve democracy in the UK

    If these decisions are made by the public most of the time then people might feel that the government is powerless, and that they are not representing them enough. In a representative democracy we put our trust into politicians so that they can make important decisions because sometimes the public

  2. The UK would benefit greatly from the wider use of referendums Discuss (30 ...

    That 35% can get a say even if its different to the one that the party in power has. Everyone gets the chance to vote. The Scottish independence vote gave 16 year olds the choice to vote, this made sure their voices were heard.

  1. To what extent would the wider use of referendums improve democracy in the UK?

    There are examples where the government has gone against the consensus of the electorate, such as the invasion of Iraq, raise of tuition fees and cuts to public services.

  2. Apart from referendums, explain three ways in which democracy in the UK could be ...

    argument to put forward their own ideas and then trying for find a consensus, which is a agreement that all parties can agree with. By getting all sides to contribute their own ideas, the final agreement is built with input from all sides of the question, rather than one group over-ruling all the others, with their power.

  1. Evaluate the effectiveness of the various ways in which participation and democracy could be ...

    Furthermore, since all votes are logged in electronically, proponents argue that the counting process is more or less instant and thereby quicker and more efficient. Although, E-voting has a potential to increase the number of voters, there is also a very high potential for fraud.

  2. Define Direct Democracy. What are the advantages and disadvantages of referendums?

    its inflexible boundaries, and that pedanticisms are absolutely necessary in politics, which is, after all, deemed a 'political science', less traditionalist analysts would suggest that the original definition of Direct Democracy is considerably outdated. This school of thought seems to be the preferable one to more modern political analysts; thus,

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