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Is a referendum democratic at all?


groundhog day

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All this hype about the referendum as if it has any great democratic significance. But really our choice in a referendum comes down to voting yes or no on pre-determined question, and usually with a pre-determined answer (or at least with a question that won't go away until we vote the way they want us to). Nevermind the recent debacle over the propriety of funding arrangements - its been clear for a long time that a referendum is nothing more than a rubber stamp, and one which is easily manipulated by those in power.

A system that actually valued what people thought would have mechanisms to empower people and encapsulate their political desires for the good of society. Instead we are told what to think by the media and given the illusion of a choice between yes and no. Just like in elections, we have no real choice, we have no real democracy.
 

BlackLion

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Referendum are democratic. but not as much if one side is using tax payers money to promote their view. If FF did this, Fg would go apesh*t about it and call of a GE.
 

wombat

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Referendum are democratic. but not as much if one side is using tax payers money to promote their view. If FF did this, Fg would go apesh*t about it and call of a GE.
We still have the opportunity to decide the issue for whatever reasons we like.
 

kvran

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IF the electorate is free, has access to free press (even with the ruling today still access to plenty other sources), freedom of association, freedom of expression etc. etc.

Yes.

They're not ideal but they're democratic in the formal sense.
 

BlackLion

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We still have the opportunity to decide the issue for whatever reasons we like.
But we are not allowed to delay the referendum to look futher into this problem of the government using tax payers money to bend the truth.
 

Plebian

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A referendum sure is democratic. The public take a decision, yes or no on a subject and that should be it. It's the electorate that let down the democratic side of the referendum process when they accept that their original decision can be rejected by the powers that be.. Being too cowardly or venal to stick with their original wishes, they have no-one to blame but themselves and deserve the tarnished democracy they get.
 

darkhorse

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All this hype about the referendum as if it has any great democratic significance. But really our choice in a referendum comes down to voting yes or no on pre-determined question, and usually with a pre-determined answer (or at least with a question that won't go away until we vote the way they want us to). Nevermind the recent debacle over the propriety of funding arrangements - its been clear for a long time that a referendum is nothing more than a rubber stamp, and one which is easily manipulated by those in power.

A system that actually valued what people thought would have mechanisms to empower people and encapsulate their political desires for the good of society. Instead we are told what to think by the media and given the illusion of a choice between yes and no. Just like in elections, we have no real choice, we have no real democracy.
What question do YOU want on the referendum?
Or maybe you want a different referendum
Some people will never be happy....
FFS
 

ibis

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A referendum in itself is kind of self-evidently democratic, in that it's a democratic way of answering a question posed to the public. What you're asking, I think, is whether the posing of the question itself is democratic - and the answer is that the question is proposed by a democratically elected government, and voted through by a democratically elected legislature, so it's as democratic as representative democracy is, and then some, because the question is not decided by representatives but directly.

The question of whether a referendum is sufficiently democratic is a different question, and the answer depends on personal tastes rather than anything else.
 

Hooch

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Apr 6, 2010
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All this hype about the referendum as if it has any great democratic significance. But really our choice in a referendum comes down to voting yes or no on pre-determined question, and usually with a pre-determined answer (or at least with a question that won't go away until we vote the way they want us to). Nevermind the recent debacle over the propriety of funding arrangements - its been clear for a long time that a referendum is nothing more than a rubber stamp, and one which is easily manipulated by those in power.

A system that actually valued what people thought would have mechanisms to empower people and encapsulate their political desires for the good of society. Instead we are told what to think by the media and given the illusion of a choice between yes and no. Just like in elections, we have no real choice, we have no real democracy.
Nice use of the Royal "We" there, I'm perfectly capable of making up my own mind when it comes to voting.
 

Hitch 22

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Dec 26, 2011
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5,220
All this hype about the referendum as if it has any great democratic significance. But really our choice in a referendum comes down to voting yes or no on pre-determined question, and usually with a pre-determined answer (or at least with a question that won't go away until we vote the way they want us to). Nevermind the recent debacle over the propriety of funding arrangements - its been clear for a long time that a referendum is nothing more than a rubber stamp, and one which is easily manipulated by those in power.

A system that actually valued what people thought would have mechanisms to empower people and encapsulate their political desires for the good of society. Instead we are told what to think by the media and given the illusion of a choice between yes and no. Just like in elections, we have no real choice, we have no real democracy.
The individual citizens go into their polling booths and mark their ballot paper, the ballots are counted and the decision of the majority decides the motion.

What the f*ck else do you call that except democracy?
 

groundhog day

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Apr 20, 2009
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We still have the opportunity to decide the issue for whatever reasons we like.
No we don't. We can only say yes or no to the question that is asked. We have no input into what question is asked in the first place.
 

thebig C

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Jun 19, 2008
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Personally, I think they are Democratic. Afterall, you can vote yes or no. Even if you are asked the same question again, you can still give the same answer.

I think you may be raising this question due to the events of today, and I feel there have been some curious statements. For example, most posters seem to be castigating the Government for being anti-democratic. Well, every couple of years you get a vote and a chance to turf the Government out of office. Likewise, if a particular Government impliments a law that you don't like you have the freedom to choose another party which when elected will reverse that law.

In a seeming contradiction in terms many of the same posters that are decrying the Government are celebrating the Supreme Courts decision (Although I suspect they are being opportuinistic). When you think about it, Courts are inherently undemocratic. Afterall, as I have briefly outlined above Governments and their decisions can be changed. Likewise, as was illustrated today, the Government can be held to accound by the Judiciary. However, the Judiciary are unelected, can make judgements that are almost impossible to reverse and when the pass Final Judgement as happened today there is no way to reverse their decision.

C
 

groundhog day

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The individual citizens go into their polling booths and mark their ballot paper, the ballots are counted and the decision of the majority decides the motion.

What the f*ck else do you call that except democracy?
So democracy comes down to marking a ballot paper with one of two options? Nothing else? I would call that anything but democratic. Here is what Gadaffi called it.

PLEBISCITES
Plebiscites are a fraud against democracy. Those who vote "yes" or "no" do not, in fact, express their free will but, rather, are silenced by the modern conception of democracy as they are not allowed to say more than "yes" or "no". Such a system is oppressive and tyrannical. Those who vote "no" should express their reasons and why they did not say "yes", and those who say "yes" should verify such agreement and why they did not vote "no". Both should state their wishes and be able to justify their "yes" or "no" vote.

The Green Book - Part One
 

Hitch 22

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No we don't. We can only say yes or no to the question that is asked. We have no input into what question is asked in the first place.
So what? They have input when they vote in favor or vote against. It is their decision. In Ireland since the Crotty judgement all constitution amendments must be made with the consent of the people. That's why the current referendum is being held this week.
 

darkhorse

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Dec 12, 2005
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No we don't. We can only say yes or no to the question that is asked. We have no input into what question is asked in the first place.
Of course we do.
How do you think the question arises in the first place?
Does it come from outer space?
 

Keith-M

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www.allkindsofeverything.ie
Do we really need a third thread on this issue? I fully accept it's an omnishambles but splitting the debate is not helping.
 

groundhog day

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A referendum in itself is kind of self-evidently democratic, in that it's a democratic way of answering a question posed to the public. What you're asking, I think, is whether the posing of the question itself is democratic - and the answer is that the question is proposed by a democratically elected government, and voted through by a democratically elected legislature, so it's as democratic as representative democracy is, and then some, because the question is not decided by representatives but directly.

The question of whether a referendum is sufficiently democratic is a different question, and the answer depends on personal tastes rather than anything else.
I don't think its right to say its self-evidently democratic. There is an illusion of democracy about it, just as there is with a representational system of government. That is very different from the power (cratos) actually being with the people (demos). If the whole process is controlled from the start by a particular elite, no amount of asking the people what they think is going to make that more democratic.
 
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