Reasons why referendums do not enhance democracy

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  • Referendums do not enhance democracy because:
    • 1) Referendums are inconsistent to representative democracy.
      • They also undermine parliamentary sovereignty.
    • 2) They provide only a snapshot of opinion at a particular time.
    • 3) Referendums may produce a vote for the wrong reasons.
      • e.g. against govt, not the referendum issue.
      • e.g. People may have voted against the AV because Clegg was unpopular.
    • 4) Referendums can result in tyranny of the majority, or biased influence where turnout is low.
    • 5) Referendums could result in voter fatigue.
      • This would result in a decline in voter turnout.
    • 6) Issues may be too complex for a 'yes' or 'no' response.
    • 7) Results can be influenced by different levels of funding in the campaigns.
      • Campaigns are expensive.
    • 8)The decisions are not final, as they could be revisited.
    • 9) Referendums could be scheduled and phrased in such a way that influences results.
      • E.g. Referendums could be scheduled during a govt's popularity to be able to get what they want.
        • e.g. Tony Blair


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