To What Extent Would the Wider Use of Referendums Improve Democracy in the Uk?

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To what extent would the wider use of referendums improve democracy in the UK? This response will discuss to what extent the wider use of referendums improve democracy in the UK. Referendums are a tool of direct democracy where the electorate vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on an issue. There are many arguments for and against the wider use of referendums within the UK in an aim to improve the UK’s democracy; these arguments will be explored in this essay. The first argument links to the fact that politicians are in their position to represent the public’s interests. This to an extent is an impossible job as some issues completely divide the country and a key aspect of a successful democracy is that it represents the entire population. The only fair and truly democratic way to make issues of mass importance or issues that have an ethical issue surrounding them is to hold a referendum. By doing this it allows every member of society to vote on an issue and the outcome will support the majority of the public’s views. This was illustrated by the 1997 ‘Scottish Devolution Referendum’. This vote had very high significance as it would allow the Scottish people to have their own parliament which would represent them more fairly. When the electorate was given the opportunity to vote 74.3% of the public voted ‘Yes’. This closed down all debate around whether Scotland should have its own parliament as the public was clearly supported the idea. The fact that referendums allow the public a definite answer on highly contested issues demonstrates how they do improve democracy within the United Kingdom. The second argument refers to the fact that political interest is falling and referendums could help bring the interest back. In the 2010 general election the voter turnout was 65.1% this is substantially lower than other countries such as Australia where turnout is consistently above 80%.
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