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AS Politics: Referendums - Adv/Disadv & Examples:

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    Right, so I've got that the adv are:

    Increases political participation
    Referendum deals with a flaw in the mandate theory as voters can voice an opinion on a major issue.
    Referendums can be a check on "elective dictatorships" during a government's 5 years span.
    Referenda can unite a divided party.
    Referenda provide a clear answer to a question the government might be 'asking'.

    Disadv:

    Far too complicated for public understanding.
    Low turnout
    Votes being indecisive
    Too many may lead to apathy throughout public.
    Inconsistent with the belief in parliamentary sovereignty
    Funding differences.

    Does anyone know of examples to any of the ones highlighted in bold?

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    Disadvantages:

    Are a sign that a government is indecisive and 'lazy'
    Can be biased in wording
    Give too much power to the media
    Timing - the government could decide to do it at a time when feeling is very strongly a certain way
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    See here for some more politics notes:

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=99342
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    From the Horse's mouth....

    13 c) What are the disadvantages of referendums?

    Most importantly, the public may be seen to be poorly qualified to make the decision, and to be influenced by government or the media. It may also be argued that it is the job of governments to govern and be responsible for decision-making, the use of referendums may allow governments to absolve themselves of their responsibilities. Referendums may be seen as alien to British political culture and likely to undermine the sovereignty of parliament. More practical disadvantages relate to the wording of questions in referendums, which are often insufficiently subtle to deal with complex issues. Referendums provide the potential for media manipulation of public opinion over individual issues. They may also be used by governments to gain greater control over the policy-making process, in that they are called at the discretion of government and can be used to overcome opposition elsewhere.

    (21-30) will explain at least four disadvantages, using examples where appropriate.
    (11-20) should include at least two disadvantages, using examples where appropriate.
    (0-10 ) are likely to focus on only one disadvantage, thinly covered.

    14 c) To what extent do referendums promote democracy?

    Referendums promote democracy in a number of ways: they encourage political participation, enhance political participation, ensure major constitutional changes have been approved directly by the directorate, keep government in touch with the electorate, and undermine Parliamentary democracy, effectively making decisions binding on the electorate. The fact that referendums have been used for virtually all the main constitutional changes since 1997, suggests that they are becoming a convention that may act as a check on governments. Important constitutional changes deserve popular confirmation. The current political system means that Governments are normally elected without popular support and there is a question about the mandate that parties can rightly claim in such circumstances. There is an argument that votes take more of an interest on specific issues than in party politics and that the use of referendum might lead to an upturn in political participation. Referendums may highlight the debate on a particular topic and lead to a better educated electorate. It may be suggested that when the referendum on the EU constitution is held, the debate will be dominated by the media. Governments should do the governing; people elect politicians to take the decisions and they are accountable at the time of the subsequent general election. Governments may call referendums at the time they think they will get the decision they are after. Referendums undermine parliamentary sovereignty. Do people know enough about the issue to make an informed choice in a referendum?

    (21-30) require four fully explained points, with acknowledgement of both sides of the argument.
    (11-20) identify two points with examples.
    (0-10) may identify one point which offers some expanation or two factors that are not explained.

    Hope that helps

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Updated: November 10, 2006
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