PROPOSAL FOR THE INTRODUCTION OF NEW DEMOCRATIC PROCEDURES IN GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND
Our proposal, presented here in brief, for discussion, has a three-step procedure:
This scheme has a number of good features.STEP 1. Initiative (citizens' proposal) which can lead to debate of the proposal by parliament. An agreed number of endorsements by fellow citizens ('signatures') must be collected. There may be a time limit, say, six months or one year, for collection of endorsements.
An Initiative (citizens' proposal) which has been successfully endorsed must be debated and considered by the parliament. If parliament rejects the citizens' proposal then we can proceed to --->>>
STEP 2. People's referendum demand. The procedure from here can vary. A simple application by the proposers may suffice to trigger a referendum, or the collection of further endorsements may be required. If the referendum demand succeeds, the referendum must be held within an agreed period, say six months --->>>
STEP 3. Referendum. The decision of the electorate has the power of law.
It encourages reforming and creative proposals to emerge -- an "ideas greenhouse" (attributed to Nordfors).
The best proposals compete and are selected to go forward only if they collect enough endorsement by (many) fellow citizens.
The proposal goes to parliament (or local council, as appropriate) which is allowed a generous period during which to inform, debate and decide upon the proposal.
Our system integrates parliamentary and citizens' democracy. It brings citizens and MPs together to consider and debate issues of real concern to the electorate. Negotiation often occurs.
The elected parliament may put forward its own proposal as an alternative to the citizens' proposal. The proposing group may accept this, or both proposals may be put to the people in referendum.
During the various stages and steps, which take many months, there is ample time and much opportunity for information about the proposal, public debate and deliberation of the issue (consider also the role of internet).
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