I have been looking to see what there is to be said about Referendums and their role in democracies. Much has been said that Referendums or more accurately Plebiscites are the tools of dictators, but I have yet to see a compelling argument as to why! As I explored the issues, it became clear to me that I was pretty ignorant about the development of political theory and its application to the politics of government. I would be happy for any guidance from people more expert to me.
Tag Archives: referendum
Anthony Barnet writes at Open Democracy, an article called, “The Media Monarchy”, in which he looks at the Law, the Media, contempt and the bullying of the Supreme Court. He finishes by pointing out that our Constitution is the result of centuries of fighting against originally despotic monarchs amd that the new unaccountable, unchallengeable power potentially oppressing citizens is the media and while he doesn’t make much of it, the UK, has the weakest foreign ownership controls on the media.
That was a shock, a soul deadening shock. In the words of the meme, I felt a grief for the loss of the future I thought I and my children had. How did this happen? How could we have voted to follow the corrupt and the vain, Johnson and Farage. The answer may have been most rapidly and accurately identified by John Harris of the Guardian in an article, entitled “If you’ve got money, you vote in … if you haven’t got money, you vote out” in which he identifies those whom we’ve known about for years, who can be described in a number of ways. In my micro blog post, “Pebbles”, I describe them as ‘globalisation’s losers’, the working class whose towns, communities and institutions have been smashed during the neo-liberal ascendency, communities that Labour stopped listening to and representing in 1997 leading to a loss of 5 million votes between 1997 and 2010. Making this even more problematic for Labour is that nearly ⅔ of Labour’s voters, voted remain, and just as globalisation’s losers cannot be ignored, nor can Labour’s majority of remainers. What is to be done?
On June 23rd, there will be the most important democratic decision taken in the UK, ever. The British People and those of Northern Ireland will be asked if they wish to remain in or leave the European Union. I am firmly of the view that both collectively and individually we will be better off, have more freedoms and a richer political, and non-political culture if we remain in. Like others, I have a list of issues that I believe need to be considered, mine are, Jobs & Prosperity, Citizenship Rights, Sovereignty and Peace & Hope.
The British Parliament must keep the promises its leadership made in the last week of the Scottish referendum on independence. However, it would seem, that no matter which way you voted, it’ll cause problems for the Tories. Some are now saying they want to guarantee English votes for English laws; let’s see how far that goes. Some say they want to solve the West Lothian question which they allege becomes more acute if Holyrood gets more devolved powers. Some talk of an English parliament which is a crude attempt to entrench their majority, and this is the party that sank House Lords reform. Some may also seek to hold devo-max hostage to some sort of ‘English’ revolution.
Yesterday, Betfair announced that they were paying out to the “No” bets on their sportsbook, and the exchange is offering odds implying a 75% probability that the “No” vote will win. Many people seem to be ready to offer the voters in Scotland their advice, so I thought I’d join in, although in my case it’s all a bit late, it would seem. More so if you consider the views of Mona Chalabi at 538 Blog who points out that many postal ballots have already been cast and at the time they were cast, the No vote had a lead in the polls.
So the European Referendum amendment to the Queen’s speech fell, the Tories will now be pursuing a Private Members bill. The Tory Party draft bill is published here….. It’s not very long, and it says that voters will be the same as for parliamentary elections plus peers, who can’t normally vote in parliamentary elections. (It’s a left over monarchy thing). This means that EU citizens living here can’t vote, except the Irish (it’s a left over Empire thing). Also many British citizens living abroad won’t be able to vote.
So, Queen’s Speech or Private Member’s bill? To express regret by voting against the Queen’s Speech because there is no referendum bill, or to enshrine Cameron’s (last) promise to Britain, to renegotiate and then vote into Law. The Tory’s are now trying to outflank UKIP by legislating for their promised 2017 referendum. No doubt they feel they deserve the UKIP votes because after all, they agree with them, it seems the electorate’s less sure.
It’ll be dramatic stuff, and it’s not a month since Cameron recalled Parliament to pay tribute to Thatcher, allowing the Tory Party to demonstrate its tribalism and cohesion at its most powerful.