Advantages and Disadvantages of Referendums

December 31, 2016 Politics

An election is held every five years and requires the nation to vote for the party they wish to see in power. Where the electorate plays the decisive role in who is elected, referendums are more of an indication of their opinion. Referendums have taken place in the past to prevent the possible collapse of political parties, this refers to situations in which a political party is divided over a political issue, and the lack of consensus
endanger the stability of the party. Failure to reach this consensus may result in revolts amongst back benchers, this would render the parties whips redundant. This can seriously jeopardise the prospects of the partie, as publicly divided parties cause electorate to loose confidence. Referendums must therefore provide a form of resolutions for disputes. ???Referendums , have antecedents in the Middle Ages and earlier. A.V. Dicey advocated referendums for Britain in 1890.???

Advantages and disadvantages of referendums

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Referendums provide the peoples opinion
Referendums provide constitutional changes that need the peoples assent
Referendums are the purest form of democracy as it is entirely up to the people to decide
Referendums allow the people to participate in politics
Referendums spread power
Referendums make government more legitimate
Referendums strengthen the support for the political system in the people
Referendums educate the people about the political issues at hand
Referendums can be used to unite a partie that is split over an issue e.g. Labour was split over EU membership in 1975
Referendums can stop unpopular decisions e.g. regional government in North East England in 2004


Referendums cost the taxpayers money
Referendums take time as the government needs time to calculate the votes
Referendums may have a disadvantage as the people voting may not fully understand politics
Referendums only have a limited question range (yes/no)
The result of a referendum is not binding as government / parliament does not have to accept the decision (parliament is sovereign)
When government /parliament holds a referendum and there??™s a low turnout, the result lacks legitimacy
People don??™t always vote about the referendum issue. They often vote in support or against the government of the day
In referendums people could vote emotionally not rationally
Referendum results can be influenced by strong and wealthy interests
When referendums take place the media is often one sided (biased)
In the united kingdom only a limited type of issue is put to referendum

In a referendum there is tyranny of the majority takes place
Undermine respect for democratic institutions e.g. parliament and the representative system of government
Governments tend to only have a referendum when they think they will get the result they want
The issue may not be resolved by holding a referendum e.g. devolution not 1979 but back in 1997


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