[EM] UK "post mortem" with an 'initiative' requiring a 'referendum'

Juho Laatu juho.laatu at gmail.com
Wed Jun 24 21:59:19 PDT 2015

Yes, initiatives are a good tool for forcing politicians to implement things that citizens clearly want but politicians for some reason might not.

Also indirect initiatives may often do the job. With "indirect intitiatives" I refer to initiatives that politicians have to take up and find a resolution (as opposed to "direct initiative" where voters would also make the decision for or against) (compare to indirect democracy and direct democracy).

In the USA there is one special problem in the electoral reforms. If one wants to make profound changes to the system, then one would have to change both the federal level rules and the rules in all individual states. One can make progress also by starting from smaller entities and progressing later towards the federal level, but of course that may take a long time.


> On 24 Jun 2015, at 17:06, Kristofer Munsterhjelm <km_elmet at t-online.de> wrote:
> On 06/22/2015 08:59 PM, steve bosworth wrote:
>> Let me thank both Kristofer and Juho for their helpful realism
>> concerning the practical possibilities of achieving electoral reforms.
>> I would only want to add the reminder that some 20 states in the USA
>> (like California) legally would allow their citizens to change their
>> existing electoral system as a result of a majority vote in a referendum
>> that had been required by enough of their citizens earlier signing the
>> relevant 'initiative'.  In these states, citizens could vote for
>> Thanksgiving even when the current politicians (i.e.the turkeys) are
>> refusing to do so.
> Initiatives are generally good tools because they let the people change what would otherwise be hard to change. They also fit with a concept of democracy where the legitimacy of the various systems flow from the assent of the people.
> From such a concept, representation and voting methods other than majority vote serve as ways to coordinate matters when doing it directly would be too difficult. The people agree to follow the results of a certain method if others do so as well, but the mechanism can be altered if it no longer serves its purpose.
> Referenda have sometimes been criticized for being very coarse, though. Consider an initiative to lower some tax rate by, say, 5 pp. Should someone who'd like to lower it by 2.5 pp support this referendum? His choice is between 5pp or 0pp reduction. So perhaps one could apply advanced methods to referenda as well. Consider, for instance, every voter submitting his preferred reduction level and then the greatest reduction supported by a majority is chosen.
> If one were to follow the concept of democracy above, then those types of referendum could be established by a majority-vote initiative of the type "permit this extended kind of referendum from now on". But I don't know if the initiative and referendum laws are that flexible.

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