Is the UK Ready for Direct Democracy?

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posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 05:24 PM
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reply to post by EvanB
 


So who exactly decides what issue justifies a referendum ? The people ? Parliament ? Some amalgam of the two ?

God in heavens, surely not the British people on their own ?! Because sure as day you'll have citizen proposed referenda for "hang paedos", "wogs go home" or "abort poofs". I don't want to live under such a reactionary regime, thanks very much. I rather think the UK under the OP's proposals would more look like Nazi Germany than My Own Private Toblerone-land. Although no doubt some on ATS, the EDL supporters, they'd quite like this proposal. Strange bedfellows you've got.

You've already had one LibDem referendum bomb. Didn;t you learn anything from that ? The public aren't interested in constitutional change. They want jobs, afffordable housing, low taxes.




posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 05:41 PM
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Originally posted by DoubtingThomas1
reply to post by EvanB
 


So who exactly decides what issue justifies a referendum ? The people ? Parliament ? Some amalgam of the two ?

God in heavens, surely not the British people on their own ?! Because sure as day you'll have citizen proposed referenda for "hang paedos", "wogs go home" or "abort poofs". I don't want to live under such a reactionary regime, thanks very much. I rather think the UK under the OP's proposals would more look like Nazi Germany than My Own Private Toblerone-land. Although no doubt some on ATS, the EDL supporters, they'd quite like this proposal. Strange bedfellows you've got.

You've already had one LibDem referendum bomb. Didn;t you learn anything from that ? The public aren't interested in constitutional change. They want jobs, afffordable housing, low taxes.



So just because you do not agree with certain views from certain segments you would wish to drown out their voices and concerns?

We have for years brushed things under the carpet and denied people the chance to voice their legitimate concerns. This is why we have extremist groups in our country who band together which feeds the extemism. An open debate and action on their concerns would stop the formation of extremist views as those things get redressed.

I do not want to live in a starsi state where i am dictated to by the government, have my voice taken away and my legitimate concerns ignored.

Do you think the government are listening to the people on jobs et al?

No they are bloody not!

This form of government would change that and if they did not do their job and carry out the will of the people we would have the power to sack them!



posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 06:06 PM
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reply to post by DoubtingThomas1
 


You haven't really quite grasped the concept here have you? This isn't some theoretical hogwash that lives in the realms of fantasy. This method is established and successful. I posted a link which outlines the basics of how the system operates.

For example


All federal laws are subject to a three to four step process:
1) A first draft is prepared by experts in the federal administration.
2) This draft is presented to a large number of people in a formalized kind of opinion poll: Cantonal governments, political parties as well as many non-governmental organisations and associations of the civil society may comment on the draft and propose changes.
3) The result is presented to dedicated parliamentary commissions of both chambers of the federal parliament, discussed in detail behind closed doors and finally debated in public sessions of both chambers of parliament. Members of parliament do take into account the results of step 2, because if the fail to do so, step 4 will be inevitable.
4) The electorate has a veto-right on laws: If anybody is able to find 50,000 citizens signing a form demanding for a referendum within 3 months, a referendum must be held. Laws do only need to find a majority of the national electorate to pass a referendum, not a majority of cantons. Referendums on more than a dozen laws per year are not unusual in Switzerland.


50,000 citizens in Switzerland equates to 1% of their population. In the UK that would equate to about 650,000 - that's a hell of a lot of extremists/headbangers/daily mail readers required to skew the system. They have their opposite and equal in any event to counter them in any event. You appear to have a rather low opinion of your fellow citizen.

You really think continuing with the status quo is going to give us low taxes, jobs, affordable housing - it's achieved the opposite so far. One in three households in Glasgow, Liverpool and Nottingham have no-one working just now.

BBC Scotland



posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 06:13 PM
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reply to post by EvanB
 


But you would say that, wouldn't you ? Because you just repeat parrot fashion whatever the Daily Mail says. Look at the threads you author ... most ripped from the Daily Mail.

Pretty Polly !

The day the reactionary right gets it's fingers in the legislative pie I'm offski. This supposed "direct democracy" crap's got nothing to do with helping out the little man ... he's not bloody interested in voting every week. He can barely drag himself to the local school to vote once every four years. Instead, this is all about people like you ... Daily Mail groupies ... taking this country over.

Nah, you're not on.



posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 06:18 PM
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reply to post by christina-66
 


You are clueless.

The public dont want constitutional change. They signalled that by rejecting proportional represenstation by an overwhelming majority.

So, having lost that, you're now moving onto something even more esoteric. Way to go, sixth form debating squad member.

You know, there's probably a reason why Switzerland is one of the few countries which practice this ? And that's perhaps that most of the other nations on earth regard this constitutional conundrum as utter, tokenist crap ?



posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 06:24 PM
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reply to post by DoubtingThomas1
 


I might suggest you and others actually read how the system works in Switzerland.

They have municipal, local and national Government just like we do, complete with the Politicians that come with such a thing. The difference is the power that is invested in the voter.

I will quote an excerpt from a site that goes into some detail:



Basic Facts & Features of Switzerland's Direct Democracy

The Swiss constitution defines in some detail all areas subject to federal legislation. Anything not explicitly mentioned is left to the legislation of the cantons (federal states).
Therefore it is necessary to update the constitution from time to time to take account of changes in society and technology that demand for standardised solutions throughout the country.
The Swiss constitution may be changed only if an overall majority of the electorate agrees in a referendum and if the electorate of a majority of the cantons agrees, too. The latter is sometimes just a little more difficult because it means that the rather conservative electorate of smaller rural cantons must be convinced as well.
Nevertheless, minor changes to the Swiss constitution are quite frequent without affecting the basic ideas nor the stability of Switzerland's Political System. To the contrary: Direct Democracy is the key to Switzerland's famous political stability.


All federal laws are subject to a three to four step process:
1) A first draft is prepared by experts in the federal administration.
2) This draft is presented to a large number of people in a formalized kind of opinion poll: Cantonal governments, political parties as well as many non-governmental organisations and associations of the civil society may comment on the draft and propose changes.
3) The result is presented to dedicated parliamentary commissions of both chambers of the federal parliament, discussed in detail behind closed doors and finally debated in public sessions of both chambers of parliament. Members of parliament do take into account the results of step 2, because if the fail to do so, step 4 will be inevitable.
4) The electorate has a veto-right on laws: If anybody is able to find 50,000 citizens signing a form demanding for a referendum within 3 months, a referendum must be held. Laws do only need to find a majority of the national electorate to pass a referendum, not a majority of cantons. Referendums on more than a dozen laws per year are not unusual in Switzerland.


Frequent referendums on minor changes to the federal or cantonal constitutions, new or changed laws, budgets etc,
- referendums on constitutional changes are mandatory
- referendums on laws are "facultative" (only if 50,000 citizens, i.e. roughly 1.2% of the electorate, demand for it)

Corresponding rules apply for referendums on cantonal and communal level. While referendums concerning budgets are not possible on federal level they are common on communal level. It depends on the 26 cantonal constitutions whether they are mandatory, facultative or possible at all.
The number of citizens that may demand for a cantonal or communal referendum depends on the size of the corresponding electorate, as a rule of thumb, about 1% are usual.


Popular Initiative: 100,000 citizens (roughly 2.5% of the electorate) may demand for a change of the constitution by signing a form. The federal parliament is obliged to discuss the initiative, it may decide to recommend or to reject the initiative or it may propose an alternative. Whatever they choose to do, all citizens will finally decide in a referendum whether to accept the initiative, the alternate proposal or stay without change.


I know some have mentioned that such a system would lead to never-end-ums. This can have the affect of turning peiople off, as they will see going to the polling booth every now and then tiresome. One can get round this by making voting easy.

For example, with my bank I have to log on with a user ID, some personal details and a new "secure key" which generates a unique PIN for me every time I wish to log in, like an RSA tag you might have at work to log into secure systems. If this is secure enough for a Bank, it is secure enough for voting.

Make voting quick, online and secure. I am sure participation would be good. Certainly it couldn't be any worse than now but at the same time making the Government far more accountable. As it stands at the moment, Government only cares what people think at election time.

The rest of the time, they will do as they please according to their party mantra and assume everyone loves them because they are in power. They ignore the fact that most Governments for the past 50 years have only had the support of a fraction of the population (last Labour Government at it's height in 1997 only had 30% of the popular vote)



posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 06:32 PM
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reply to post by DoubtingThomas1
 



The public dont want constitutional change. They signalled that by rejecting proportional represenstation by an overwhelming majority.

That would have been the voting reform that no-one could explain in a catchy slogan – still just another form of representative government tho’. Of course they didn’t vote for it – it really was more of the same in a fancy new wrapping.

So, having lost that, you're now moving onto something even more esoteric. Way to go, sixth form debating squad member.

Esoteric – ‘understood by or meant for only the select few who havespecial knowledge or interest; recondite: poetry full ofesoteric allusions.
2.
belonging to the select few.
3.
private; secret; confidential.
4.
(of a philosophical doctrine or the like) intended to berevealed only to the initiates of a group: the esotericdoctrines of Pythagoras.’

No – again you’re seem to be seeing this for the opposite of what it is. Direct democracy is to engage the population who have a vested or other interest in any matter. You think the lower rungs would become apathetic? Not if the middle rung elected to halt all social benefits – they’d be petitioning in their millions.


You know, there's probably a reason why Switzerland is one of the few countries which practice this ? And that's perhaps that most of the other nations on earth regard this constitutional conundrum as utter, tokenist crap ?


Yeah – Switzerland has far less corrupt politicians than we do.
edit on 8-9-2011 by christina-66 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 06:33 PM
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Originally posted by DoubtingThomas1
You are clueless.


Tad harsh...


Originally posted by DoubtingThomas1
The public dont want constitutional change. They signalled that by rejecting proportional represenstation by an overwhelming majority.


I would hardly call a vote that only had a turnout of 40% an "overwhelming" majority. Given everything else that is going in people's lives, it is hardly surprising many really bothered to look into what either side of the debate was about.

For the record, I voted No for the AV system. FPTP can work quite nicely within a direct democracy. In fact, there is little need to change much on the front end of things, it is more how the Government is held to account after it is put in power.


Originally posted by DoubtingThomas1
So, having lost that, you're now moving onto something even more esoteric. Way to go, sixth form debating squad member.


Slightly hypocritical, no? You are not even debating the system on it's actual merits, just misconstrued false arguments. Then, when challenged, you resort to name calling.


Originally posted by DoubtingThomas1
You know, there's probably a reason why Switzerland is one of the few countries which practice this ? And that's perhaps that most of the other nations on earth regard this constitutional conundrum as utter, tokenist crap ?


In the local and state sphere, The USA actually uses a system of direct democracy where citizens can recall representaives, initiate referenda etc. It seems to work quite well over there too.



posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 06:50 PM
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reply to post by stumason
 


I have actually read all that guff on wiki and elsewhere. So don't imply otherwise, Gunga Din.

And twenty minutes later I'm still convinced that the public won't buy it.

And that's the bottom line of it.

Is it because it can't be neatly explained in sound bites ? Yeah. That plus, over time ... and I mean this sincerely ... in our system this indifference of the majority to all matters political will be exploited by the hard core politicos, whether they be right or left (although I think more likely the right).

It's exactly the kind of subject which sixth formers will be moving onto, now that PR's been bombed out for a generation.

Jobs, housing, taxes ... that's what it's ll about. All else is utter trivia.



posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 06:57 PM
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Some people maybe happy continuing with the same old same old and perservering with the existing system which not only supports the status quo but actually promotes it and is the mainstay of the elites stranglehold over this country and the complete lack of say the people really have in the running of this country.

I for one am sick of the carear politicians, of every political persuassion, who put their own personal advancement, financial gain and adherence to party line and political dogma before the wishes and interests of the constituents they are supposed to represent.

I am sick of the system that perpetuates the circles of left and right and boom and bust.
A system that can enable a minority to rule unapposed with a wilful disregard for the cares and concerns of it's citizens.
A system that allows politicians and bureaucrats to completely ignore and fail to act upon election promises with impunity.

Direct democracy is a proven system that offers real input from the electorate.

Of course it requires people to break free from the traditional viewpoint that MSM, the education system and all our political parties have forced upon us for decades that the current system is THE BEST and most workable system and offers democracy to this nations populations.

Putting an X into a box once every four or five years IS NOT democracy.

Every man and woman having an equal say on policy making and decisions IS democracy.
Having a say on everyday issues that have a real and important impact on your life IS democracy.

I don't seek to promote any political ideology over another.
Personally I try to treat everything on it's own merits free from political dogma.
And Direct Democracy enables this.

I am in favour of abolishing the party political system altogether.
Some would agree, many don't....that would be open for debate and down to the will of the people.

In addition I think The Power of Recall is essential, regardless of which 'democratic' system is used.
Interestingly this was in The Conservative Party Manifesto pre-election, noticeably it hasn't been mentioned once post-election.

I would also introduce more regional assemblies with more referendums on local issues etc.

And I really like the idea of rolling parliaments where a staggered 25% - 33% of MP's are elected every year thus providing both continuity and fresh impetus.

All of this within a federal British Union.

Obviously there would be an immense amount of detail to be agreed and sorted, far more than for a simple man like myself can think of not least National Security etc and the role and parameters of the National Parliament and Regional Assemblies.

These are just the ramblings of an ill educated, middle aged, average man....imagine what could be achieved if some of the great and original minds this country still has get on board?

But the point is; it does work and it can work.
And if enough people understand that then maybe, just maybe, we can work together to bring about real and positive change that will allow this country to move forward and be something to be proud instead of wallowing in the stagnated cesspit of mediocrity and the obsession with maintaining the status quo.
edit on 8/9/11 by Freeborn because: grammar etc



posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 07:06 PM
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reply to post by DoubtingThomas1
 




Jobs, housing, taxes ... that's what it's ll about. All else is utter trivia.


To a large extent I would agree with you.
Party politics aside I would just say that this current system has consistently failed to adequately deliver in any of those key areas.

So do we just sit back and continue to accept failure or do we look for new solutions to very old problems?

Which ever way you look at it the current system has failed us.
edit on 8/9/11 by Freeborn because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 09:42 PM
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Originally posted by christina-66
Are you suggesting that people who drop out of school should pay tax at 90% too or that high earners pay none?

Fair - 'just and honest; impartial; unprejudiced; specif., free from discrimination based on race, religion, sex, etc.'

I'd be all for a flat tax, or sales (usage) tax. Everyone pays the same percentage, whatever that may be. If the government needs more money, everyone gets the same percentage increase. Fair.



posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 11:53 PM
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While this sounds brilliant, won't "The Powers That Be" just squash it.

The D notice for instance, would quickly end any real debate on the matter.

Safely returning the sheep back to the fold. Content in their ignorance once again.

I could be wrong. I doubt it. But I could be.

Perhaps as an example: The Princess Diana Assassination. D Notice
edit on 8-9-2011 by D4Saken because: The Princess Diana Assassination.



posted on Sep, 8 2011 @ 11:56 PM
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I think the only thing with a direct democracy would be
people would so easily able to vote themselves money
it would be a gravy train.



posted on Sep, 9 2011 @ 02:31 AM
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reply to post by D4Saken
 




While this sounds brilliant, won't "The Powers That Be" just squash it.


Possibly, if it gains any level of support and momentum.

But if everyone adopted that attitude we in the UK would never have chopped a Kings head off, the US would still be a British colony, there would have been no French Revolution - blah blah blah.



The D notice for instance, would quickly end any real debate on the matter.


By which time it may be too late, once the mood for change gathers momentum then anything can happen.

But of this we can be certain; unless or until we try then nothing will change and we'll never know what the reaction from TPTB would be.

reply to post by popsmcgee
 




I think the only thing with a direct democracy would be
people would so easily able to vote themselves money


And how would that be the case?

There would still be regulatory bodies, parliamentary commissions, auditors etc.

Some of the major differences would be more transparent government and increased accountability of elected officials to the electorate.



it would be a gravy train.


And if that were true, which I doubt, how exactly would it differ from the current system which seems to provide an open fund for elected officials to help themselves to and to then regulate and 'censor' themselves?

The Swiss Model seems to work perfectly ok without much obvious corruption.
edit on 9/9/11 by Freeborn because: various typo's, grammar and spelling



posted on Sep, 9 2011 @ 04:02 AM
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With the internet, this is the first time in history where large countries can be practicaly governed by real direct democracy, just like ancient Athens. It would be an interesting experiment in governance, indeed.



posted on Sep, 9 2011 @ 04:18 AM
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Yes, swizerland is the only country i know of that has we the people in charge. All we other countries are slaves for the elite.

I have hope, but the pace towards that goal is awfully slow.



posted on Sep, 9 2011 @ 05:38 AM
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Originally posted by Freeborn
Some people maybe happy continuing with the same old same old and perservering with the existing system which not only supports the status quo but actually promotes it and is the mainstay of the elites stranglehold over this country and the complete lack of say the people really have in the running of this country.

I for one am sick of the carear politicians, of every political persuassion, who put their own personal advancement, financial gain and adherence to party line and political dogma before the wishes and interests of the constituents they are supposed to represent.

I am sick of the system that perpetuates the circles of left and right and boom and bust.
A system that can enable a minority to rule unapposed with a wilful disregard for the cares and concerns of it's citizens.
A system that allows politicians and bureaucrats to completely ignore and fail to act upon election promises with impunity.


Remember there was a court case after the last election that was seeking to force candidates to hold to the promises they make during a campaign? They lost. Our current system gets them in the door - and once they're there they'll do everything to stay there.

The Independent wrote an article a few years back called 'The Unemployables.' A study had found that mp's just couldn't make the grade outside of public life. The article stated that this has been known for a long time. That's why we have quangos.

I don't know if our current system could be any more elitist or self serving than it already is - but it could surprise me yet.


Direct democracy is a proven system that offers real input from the electorate..

Of course it requires people to break free from the traditional viewpoint that MSM, the education system and all our political parties have forced upon us for decades that the current system is THE BEST and most workable system and offers democracy to this nations populations.


The base arguments against change have already been presented in this thread. 'Government by Daily Mail', 'voting to give ourselves lots of dosh.' The policies of the child - direct democracy requires the population to grow up and take responsibility and the consequences of their own decision making. Most of us want a secure and happy future for us for our kids I reckon.

The arguments against direct democracy on this thread are being made without consideration of how the system actually works. The Daily Telegraph article in the op makes clear that 94% of legislation goes through without the peoples' involvement because the reps are aware they are being monitored closely and do a good job. Benefit number 9 in my list is that the parliament couldn't evade enquiry or discussion on topics it wasn't comfortable with. It cleans up politics.




These are just the ramblings of an ill educated, middle aged, average man....imagine what could be achieved if some of the great and original minds this country still has get on board?

But the point is; it does work and it can work.
And if enough people understand that then maybe, just maybe, we can work together to bring about real and positive change that will allow this country to move forward and be something to be proud instead of wallowing in the stagnated cesspit of mediocrity and the obsession with maintaining the status quo.
edit on 8/9/11 by Freeborn because: grammar etc


I don't think you're rambling - I think you're rather concise actually. The stagnating mediocrity has to go - I'm bored with it.



posted on Sep, 9 2011 @ 06:44 AM
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This is a reason why things must change.


Instead of working to put Britain back in charge of its own laws, the panel had already accepted the principle that European judges have primacy over the UK's Supreme Court, they claimed. After seven months of deliberation, the Commission on a Bill of Rights appears to have accepted that Parliament must take orders from Strasbourg judges over matters such as whether prisoners should have the vote.

Source

We did not get one bit of say in this situation!
edit on 9-9-2011 by EvanB because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2011 @ 09:02 AM
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Originally posted by EvanB
The people drive the debate organically by pertitioning the government, they also set the question.


Arguably the people in the UK also set the agenda, in that the issues of the day are reflected in the business of the government. Simply put, if the government does not reflect the general will of the people then they are booted out of office. You may think that they are not, but the evidence sugests they are.


Originally posted by christina-66
I don't really understand your logic. One of the main problems with our current system is that people are NOT informed, they are NOT objective - they are led by the nose with a handful of meaningless statistics.


I disagree. I think people now are more informed than ever. I am certainly informed, or like to think so. You go into a pub and there will be half a dozen opinions on how to kill the proverbial cat. Whether the “public at large” gives a toss is moot.

The “public at large” are happy to proceed with their lives so long as certain things happen and lines are not crossed. For example, a line was crossed with MP’s expenses and not only did some politicians lose their seats, the government has been compelled to act. However, a line won’t be crossed when they start building new nuclear power stations because people actually want electricity and jobs, although the garish wind turbines are beginning to annoy more and more people as they become more globally intrusive. This is why in my neck of the woods (a quite rural backwater) the three proposed 125m tall wind turbines will not be built.

Similarly, although we rant and rave about Europe and all hold an opinion about the pesky French, actually the “public at large” want economic stability and their freedoms assured. They don’t want to read the Marrastrict Treaty or even know how to spell the bloody word! If they want to be “informed” then there are hundreds of websites and newspapers to help them.

The Swiss have arrangements for Frequent Referendum and Popular Initiative.

Translated to the UK, for a “Frequent Referendum” to be called 1.2% of the electorate would have to support it – that’s 500,000+ people to get a legal revision considered. For a Popular Initiative, to get some political debate would be 2.5% of the electorate, or 1.2 million people filling a form.

The current situation in the UK is that the government will debate an issue if 100,000 people sign a petition. It seems the UK proviso is more generous then Switzerland!


Originally posted by christina-66
... Their population is highly informed - they are mature in their decision making because they live with the consequences of their choices....


Prove to me that the average UK person is less “informed” than their Swiss counterpart.

Regards





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