Active Politics

This page is copied from I&R Campaign for Direct Democracy in Britain.

They are advocating referendums on things that people care about, referendums that would become law. It works very well in Switzerland and some American states. It could only make England a better place. Their approach to action and being effective makes a lot of sense.

                       E-mail: directdemo@rodmell.nospamprestel.co.uk

                      Please remove the nospam bit before using this address.

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DDC Action page:-

What you can do to help!

 

Direct Democracy will not come by itself, because governments will always be reluctant to relinquish any of their powers. What follows is a list of some of the things which you can do to help accelerate that process.

1. Tell others about Direct Democracy. Sounds obvious, but its a good starting point since many people would not even think of it as an option. They may have heard of, or even voted in the occasional referendum, but never have thought of Direct democracy as the basis for a whole system of government. In some ways a prior lack of knowledge on their part can actually be to your advantage, since it means that you can write your arguments on a clean slate without the handicap of prior opposition.

2. Know the arguments yourself. The case for Direct Democracy is actually quite a straightforward one, but make sure that you know your case before going into battle. Read the associated DDC web pages. Get others to do the same.

If you want to discover more about the practicalities of Direct Democracy, and in much greater depth, then get hold of a copy of the book 'Referendums around the World - The growing use of direct democracy', edited by David Butler and Austin Ranney. (Published by The AEI Press for the American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, USA. ISBN 0-8447-3853-0 for paperback. Price about 16 from UK bookshops)
This book is a 'must' if you want to equip yourself with a reference work which tells you all there is to know about Direct Democracy on every continent. With separate sections on Western Europe, Switzerland, the old East block, the Antipodes, and the American states, there can be little that the authors have missed out. It is well written, authoritative, and detailed, and it is not afraid to tackle the theoretical side of Direct Democracy either.

3. Do not be too abstract. Talk to people about the need for referendums on issues which they feel strongly about, rather than on obscure changes to the constitution.

4. Quote Switzerland when they tell you that you cannot base a whole democracy on referendums. Quote the American states when they tell you it cannot be done in local government.

5. Write to your local paper. The local letters column is an invaluable space for free advertising. Choose an issue which local people feel strongly about, and write suggesting that the council holds a referendum on it.

6. Get on to local radio phone-in programmes. They are often short of callers, so this can be an ideal opportunity to get your ideas across to a wider audience.

7. Write to the national press also. Parliamentary reform is in the air. The House of Lords has been altered and will be reformed further in the not too distant futures, so lots of scope for suggesting that Direct Democracy could have a part to play here.

8. Go along to your local MP's Saturday morning surgery, and ask him why he feels that he is so much better qualified to take all the decisions about the nation's future than you are!

9. Are you already a political activist? If so work on your party colleagues to accept the idea of Direct Democracy. Labour is already cautiously promoting local referendums; the Liberal democrats are always keen to find new ideas untainted by the big two; and the Tories believe in the rights of the individual as opposed to big government. Each of the parties stands to gain votes by advocating Direct Democracy in future election manifestos, and whichever party does it first, will gain the greatest electoral benefit.

10. Run your own referendum. We do it anyway, every time we have a friendly argument with acquaintances on some issue of the day. Why not formalise it? Offer to administer a write-in or phone-in referendum on behalf of the local newspaper on a topical issue of their choosing. If you run a personal website, why not incorporate a weekly poll on national issues into it, and use the results to gain further publicity. Voters need to get into the habit of voting on the issues, so that Direct Democracy can take root, and we can each do our bit to encourage them.
(See also 'Holding a local referendum' page.)

11. Advocate electronic democracy whenever you get the opportunity. Direct Democracy will flourish when voters can vote in referendums with little need to disturb their busy daily routines. We need to push for secure electronic polling booths in shopping precincts and petrol stations, or for the technology simply to vote down the phone line from home.

12. Let us know how you get on, and we will share the best ideas in future editions of this website. Ideas from outside the UK are always welcome.

 

'Let the people decide..............'

 

E-mail: directdemo@rodmell.nospamprestel.co.uk

Please remove the nospam bit before using this address.

 

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Errors & omissions, broken links, cock ups, over-emphasis, malice [ real or imaginary ] or whatever; if you find any I am open to comment.

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Updated  on  Monday, 07 December 2015 09:55:24