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

A referendum is an action in which people vote for or against a motion which

concerns the public. It is a way of enforcing democracy and is a good way to include

the people in making important decisions that will concern them, both directly and

indirectly. It is a form of direct democracy as opposed to representative democracy

as it involves the public directly influencing a political matter.

Recently the UK has experienced a fall in turnout at the general election and the

public has become disillusioned with the government and politicians. Referendums

may be a way to fix this problem and result in more members of the public being

involved in politics.

An obvious advantage of using referendums more widely is that ‘people rule’

is embodied and direct democracy is being enforced completely. This means the

people’s will is what ultimately decides the final verdict and the public is involved in

any serious debate that may have an impact on their life.

In addition, as people are able to actually get involved in politics directly it may

influence them to gain a better understanding of politics and educate themselves

further. The flipside to this argument is that you would have un-educated people

making ill informed decisions, resulting in an illegitimate and damaging conclusion,

that could lead to a negative outcome.

A big problem with referendums is that in order to reach certain goals, political

leaders and civic organizations can use different means to distort and manipulate

public opinions, for example, extensive advertising, helped along by financial backing

by big corporations that are interested on influencing the outcome so it positively

effects them, can influence a person to vote a certain way. If they are not properly

handled, the outcome of referendums will only reflect the will of the initiator and

not the people's true will. If fed information a person may...