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Submitted By helloman
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How strong is the case for increasing the use of referendums in the UK?
A referendum is a vote put to the public by a ballot by the government. Given as a simple “yes/no” question, they are on a single issue in the country or something the government needs the public’s opinion on. The UK rarely uses referendums, with only 2 put to the UK and 9 otherwise. Here I will discuss whether or not their use should be increased.
Referendums can help to decide on issues like education, healthcare, social issues and more for example in Switzerland where they are used to decide on social issues like abortion and gay marriage. However, in most cases, the action/ outcome would have already been decided by the government in control, using the referendum as a way to legitimise what they want. Due to this issue, they can be used to legitimise clearly non-democratic laws, for example Hitler used them to pass what he wanted to happen. Referendums also gain the public’s view on what the government wants- whether they want it or not- yet this makes tyranny of the majority as minorities don’t get expressed and only certain areas are get to vote. The question would have been carefully manicured in favour of the best outcome for the government, as people can only answer yes or no- no justification or adding more even if neither appeals.
A tool for modern democracy, outside of the UK they solve a wide range of issues and work well. The voter has a direct choice and say in what the government do, for example whether Scotland gets independence or not. A price cannot be put on democracy if a country is run fairly and people are given freedom unlike certain areas of the world. On the other hand, Referendums can carry moral issues. Not only are you only given a yes or no choice, certain questions could cause issues to rise to do with beliefs, whether its appropriate or up to standard, or just…...

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