date: May to July 1999
from: Michael Macpherson
to: newsgroups, forums
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I want to gather people's opinions and encourage discussion about the chances to improve real participation in public decision making, democracy and governance.
Imagine there would be a people's referendum for the citizen's right to take part in public affairs. This could be a new way to revive democracy, and the debate about it, in Britain (maybe elsewhere, too). "Taking part" means, for instance, being able to put a new law before parliament and the people, to cancel an existing law or to dismiss an M.P. who has represented her or his constituents badly.
Below is a suggestion for the text of a people's referendum (called "Proposal"). If enough citizens want the referendum to go ahead, volunteers will be needed to organise the proceedings and collect the signed ballot papers. The latter could be done both "on paper" and "on-line".
In brief, the suggestion is "Have a referendum for the right to referenda!"
PEOPLE'S PROPOSAL TO RENEW DEMOCRACY (with Rider, below)
We the undersigned propose that a law be passed in parliament which enables and provides finance for the following forms of democracy at all levels of government from local to national, these forms of democracy to be initiated by a fair and reasonable percentage of the population, with decisions being made by an appropriate majority of voters:
1) Initiation of laws to be voted upon by the legislative body be it parliament, assembly or council (Citizens' Initiative).
2) Referendum: The people decide, for instance if the legislative has decided against the citizens' initiatives in 1) or 3).
3) Cancellation or modification of existing laws by citizens' initiative or referendum.
4) Recall of elected public delegates, representatives and officials at any time during the usual period of office: The people decide.
A "green paper" outlining the hereto relevant practices of democracy in other countries and describing different reform options and the reasons for these shall be rapidly published and made freely available (gratis) via wide-area computer networks such as Internet.
By signing the foregoing proposal I mandate my Member of Parliament to help introduce and support an appropriate Bill in Parliament. In future my vote will go ONLY to those candidates for parliamentary office who promise to support the proposal.
End of proposal.
At this website you can find:
- comments on and discussion about the People's Proposal to Renew Democracy
- further information about direct democracy.
Distribution: The above People's Proposal to Renew Democracy, with or without the "The case for introducing elements of direct democracy in Britain", may be copied and circulated electronically or in print.
To return to the index page click the I&R symbol.
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COMMENT ON THIS PROPOSAL