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KT Referendum: a vote on a single issue put to a public ballot by the government. A degree of direct
democracy. Generally yes/no questions.
Direct democracy is unachievable but representative democracy can lead to be too remote and
unresponsive of citizens needs. Referendums are therefore employed.
- In 1995 in Eire a referendum legalised divorce.
- Switzerland average around four referendums a year. In 2002 the people approved a decision to
join the United Nations by 55% to 45%.
- UK first nationwide post legislative referendum in 1975.
Should we remain part of the European Community? Yes/No.
RESULTS= 67.2 YES 32.8 NO
- Second UK wide referendum in 2011. Not post-legislative.
At present, the UK uses the "first past the post" system to elect MPs to the House of Commons.
Should the "alternative vote" system be used instead?
RESULTS= 32.1% YES 67.9% NO
- Future referendum for Scotland planned by the SNP in 2014
- 15th June 2012 Ipsos MORI conduced an opinion poll.
- 27% Supported Independence 41% Support Devomax 29% Support Status Quo 4% Undecided
KT Initiative: Initiatives give citizens the opportunity to call a public ballot on a question of their own
choosing. Often by collecting a predetermined number of signatures and therefore triggering a
- In New Zealand the Citizen's Initiated Referenda Act 1993 required support of 10% of the
electorate for a non-binding referendum to be initiated.
- In California a public vote on changing law must require signatures equal to at least 5% of the total
vote attained for the state governor at the previous election.
- In 2010 this was 433,971 signatures.
- In March 2010, an initiative proposing the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act 2010
received enough signatures to qualify for the November 2010 ballot.
- The California 2008 Proposition 8 was an initiative proposed to ban gay marriage in
- Led to a California referendum which Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.
- RESULTS= 52.24% YES 48.76% NO
- Q J.S. Mill Tyranny of the Majority: "If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would
be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in
- TURNOUT= 79.42%
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Q Clement Attlee in 1940s: "a tool of demagogues and dictators".. "a device so alien to our
Q A.V. Dicey: a kind of "peoples veto"
Q Blair in 1995: "in the case of major constitutional change. . .…read more