Referendum day

A campaign demanding more referendums for local and national decision-making was launched today. An annual referendum day would be held were issues that were supported by 2.5% of the electorate (locally or nationally) would be voted on with the results binding on the national government or local authority. In California such binding votes contributed to the budget deficit.

  • DaithiO

    Here in Switzerland a lot of local issues are decided by Communal referendum, that’s something like a parish. Some bigger issues are also decided this way at a national level, like the decision to accept more open borders with the EU and allowing more freedom for forseigners (like me) to work here.

    Anyway the people here pride themselves on what they see as real democracy.

    Compare that to people in the 6 counties who have NO say the what happens in their part of the world, their decisions being made by members of a party they are not even allowed to vote for.

    Hmm…

  • Ciaran Irvine

    I’m not sure that’ll work within the loose non-codified structure of the UK. How exactly could the results be properly binding? Usually countries that make active use of referenda (Ireland and Switzerland for example in Europe)have written Constitutions, and the referenda are usually making a structural change to that Constitution.

    Though the Swiss system is interesting: all a “concerened citizen” has to do is get enough signatures from the electorate to force a referendum, it’s completely outside party politics. When I was working in Zurich a few years back, they were having such a referendum, organised from the ground up via this method, on whether or not to simply abolish the entire Swiss Army! Now that’s democracy 🙂

    As long as the number of signatures required is high enough, and you have a minimum turnout threshold for a referendum to be valid, it should work out fine.

    I also tend to think though that referenda work better in smaller more cohesive polities. The UK might be just too big and regionally diverse for UK-wide referenda to be acceptable. Even in England alone the differences between North and South could make for destabilisingly divisive referenda.