A discussion on whether a healthy democracy should have focus groups and referenda

If the referendum is held separately, that also may make a difference because often fewer voters turn out so the matter is decided only by those with a special interest in it. The Wording of the Question A major element in determining the results of a referendum is to be found in the way that the question is put before the voters.

It was organized as a standard constitutional device initiated by the voters or by their representatives under certain set conditions and in certain set ways, and conducted under set ground rules.

To summarize, referenda have become legitimate tools in the arsenal of democratic self-government, especially if they are anchored in the constitutional governance process of the polity and are not used as plebiscites simply to ratify government actions.

The Conservative government in power when the referendum was held designed it so that to be enacted the vote had to secure a majority of at least 40 percent of the registered Scottish or Welsh voters, whether they participated in the election or not.

Special, Extraordinary, and Dispersed Majorities Plebiscites characteristically do not require special majorities. It may be fifty-five percent or two-thirds or higher, but it means that even if a majority vote for a particular measure, unless a sufficient majority do, the measure fails.

Referenda are a good solution to this because it provides an opportunity for the electorate to have their opinions made known. Therefore the parties annual conferences would become obsolete, as would bodies such as the NEC.

They would have the people vote on a single issue when it arose to provide backing for the revolutionary regime. There would be far too much influence given to the majority, while the minorities are ignored, this could lead to oppression of the minorities and a strong movement to the far right.

However the Labour victory did highlight the role of focus groups and the massive influence that they can have on political parties.

The Use Of Focus Groups And Referenda In The Uk

Thus the wording of the question and who does it are important issues in the politics of referenda. Referenda concerning very important issues should also be used because the government does not really have the right to make such a huge decision that may affect everybody s lives, such as the Good Friday peace agreement for those living in Ireland.

That matter finally had to be untangled by the courts after years of wrangling. The other major users of the referendum are the state and local governments of the United States. Ways and Means Switzerland remains the major example of regular use of the referendum. Referenda are now also taking a larger role, with several being held in the last few years.

Today, 49 of the 50 states only Delaware has not provide for referenda in one form or another. For example, in American states where elections are frequent and they are normally held two to four times annually when people are called to go to the polls, referenda are held at regular election times.

That was possible only in very small polities. A referendum allows part, or the whole, of a country a vote on a single issue.

If all these matters are attended to, then the referendum can be a useful tool. In such cases, initiation came from outside the government. Where do people go to vote In the UK, there are When Tony Blair took over as leader of Labour in after the death of John Smith they were still seen as the left wing party of the 70 s and 80 s.

Plebiscites have continued in that form and have been used principally by totalitarian regimes seeking an ersatz legitimacy through voting consent after the fact, after an action has been completed.

This meant that the Labour government had to pursue moderate policies despite pressure to introduce Another factor that has crept into our lives of late is the referenda. Economics Of Public Issues The use of dispersed majorities also is common.

Referenda are usually only held on major issues, such as Scottish and Welsh devolution, but in the USA and Switzerland many issues are voted on.Does British and foreign experience support the view that the greater use of focus groups and referenda today are signs of a healthy democracy?

Introduction: What Is Democracy? 1 Characteristics of Democracy 3 Rights and Responsibilities 7 new forms of direct democracy, as it empowers political groups to raise money for their causes by appealing However, today, as in the past, the most common form of democracy, whether for a town of 50, or a nation of 50 million, is.

Referendums in a Representative Democracy. Download. Box One: Referendums or Referenda? There has always been debate whether one should use the word referendums or the word referenda.

It is generally agreed that the former is grammatically more correct than the latter.

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A Discussion on Whether a Healthy Democracy Should Have Focus Groups and Referenda PAGES 2. WORDS 1, View Full Essay.

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A discussion on whether a healthy democracy should have focus groups and referenda
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