To What Extent Should Referendums Be Used in the Uk

Topics: Democracy, Government, Politics Pages: 2 (500 words) Published: October 20, 2010
To what extent should referendums be used in the UK?

Referendums are used frequently in the UK. They can be seen as advantages for the democracy but also as disadvantages.

Referendums in a direct democracy give the general public direct and unmediated control over government decision-making. Therefore this means that politicians who claim to ‘represent’ the public are not distorting them as it ensures that the public’s views and interests are properly and accurately articulated.

By comparison with elected politicians, the general public is ill informed, poorly educated and lacks political experience. ‘Government by politicians’ is the best safe guarded system for the public’s interests, rather than any form of popular self-government.

Referendums are seen as a huge benefit for education as they widen the opportunities for political participation, which creates better informed, more educated, and a more politically engaged electorate by allowing debate to focus on a particular issue. People from the ages of 16-18 are educated on government and politics which for the future will make them more interested In there politics and will allow them to have their own thoughts and opinions.

But, moreover, referendums do not strengthen the democracy. At best it substitutes direct democracy for parliamentary democracy. This means that decisions are not made on the basis of careful deliberation and debate.

Referendums make government more responsive by forcing them to listen to the public opinion between elections. Moreover, they allow public opinion to be expressed on a particular issue, something that is difficult to achieve via elections and impossible to achieve if all parties agree on an issue.

Referendums allow governments to absolve themselves of responsibility by handing decisions over to the electorate. The newly elected governors should make policy decisions and be made publicly accountable for their decisions.

On the other hand,...
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