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To What Extent Would The Wider Use Of Referendums Improve Democracy In The Uk?

1073 words - 5 pages

To what extent would the wider use of referendums improve democracy in the UK?
(25 marks)
Jude McCool
1. Allows the public a voice in major issues that they may not usually be party to.
2.Referendum campaigns serve to inform the electorate on specific issues and encourage citizens to take more interest in the political system and to educate themselfs on these issues.
1. Media and other agencies can significantly influence the result, thus threatening the democratic nature of referendums.
2.Furthermore, Referendums being a tool of a Direct Democracy, does not take into the views of any minority groups of voters, leaving some a percentage of citizens ...view middle of the document...

A recent example of its use was the Scottish Referendum on its independence, held in 2014 which played in favour of Scotland staying in the U.K, a decision made by the majority of Scots, thus showing a wider use of referendums would positively improve democracy in the U.K.
Another advantage of using Referendums as a tool to improve Democracy is the fact that Referendum campaigns serve to inform the electorate on specific issues and encourage citizens to take more interest in their political system and to educate themselves on these issues. So with the greater use of Referendums in our country, we encourage those taking these votes to explore the issues they are faced with in more complexity and detail thus ideally causing the outcome to be more well-rounded and intelligent decision. An example were this aspect of a Referendum would have proved useful in making an intelligent democratic decision was the Iraq War declared by Tony Blair in 2003, in which previously he had reneged on the promise of a referendum on the matter, which in heinsight would have likely led to a different and far more positive outcome having seen events play out. As a way of educating those taking the vote, a wider use of Referendums in this way would improve Democracy in the U.K.
In contrast to these views, some would argue that the wider use of Referendums would be a detriment to our Democracy, mainly as media and other agencies can significantly influence the result, thus threatening the democratic nature of referendums. As the platform with which a referendum is communicated to the public is primarily the media, external influences on either side of the arguments broadcast can drastically influence the result, bringing about the idea that essentially the group with most resources available to advertise their opinion on the given Referendum are more likely bring about more support and so an arguably un-Democratic decision is made. Although examples of this are difficult to prove categorically, the Scottish Referendum in 2013 on independence came down to two opposing groups, the U.K Parliament (Anti-Scottish...

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