UK needs more referenda for a strong democracy: BUT quality is crucial

With about a year to run until the UK is programmed to leave the European Union, some have begun to think about how we could improve our governance and democracy. The turbulent, seemingly chaotic progress of "brexit" and the amateurish, not too democratic performance of our pro-brexit politicians may well have provoked such considerations.

A headline in The Independent reads,

"We still need referendums for a strong democracy, whatever you thought of the Brexit result".

Similarly in a regional paper,

"FAIR POINT: Let's hold more referendums, including a second one on Brexit" Worcester News

INIREF comments:

The UK certainly has a "flawed democratic system". Introducing elements of direct democracy would improve it. Incidentally, the term "direct democracy" is often used too loosely a procedure such as such as the June 2016 ballot about the EU has been termed an "authorities' plebiscite". The "authorities" decided to hold a referendum for their own purposes, they set the question and timing and defined the franchise a weak form of democracy, really only a consultation. In direct democracy, formal proposals come from the electorate. Public proposals for, say, policy or matters of constitution, emerge from public discourse and debate, then one or more of these proposals gets put forward in an effort to gather support. (Formal rules are needed, a public electoral body monitors and manages). There is competition among different proposals. Only after a large, agreed number of voters, citizens, have endorsed a proposal can it go forward for, usually, debate in parliament and then on to referendum /ballot. The procedures of public proposal to endorsement to debate and decision are sovereign acts of (self-) governance. The whole electorate, in this way, can steer, guide, correct and over-rule any other body including political parties, parliament and government. (Parliament, even in the United Kingdom, has via elections only borrowed sovereignty from the people).

Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
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