An example to us all.

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carrie
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An example to us all.

Post by carrie »

Lust for power, self interest, what else has been demonstrated to us all by the politicians in the past few weeks?
Threats to involve the courts in the forthcoming Labour leadership contest, an inability to accept a referendum vote, democracy what democracy?
Watch well all you other nations when the Brits say they want to bring democracy to your country.


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Re: An example to us all.

Post by Hafiz »

Carrie. Thanks.

Not sure its about lust for power etc. Maybe we have left all the dirty work to the political professionals for a century for so and forgotten, if we every knew, how angry and nasty mass public debate could get. I'm far from sure that, on divisive issues, and refferenda are always about divisive issues, people behave rationally. Maybe these are arguments for professional representatives.

In Australia we are to vote in a referendum before Christmas on same sex marriage. The reasons for the need to go to a referendum are complex but are connected with the way this issue cuts across traditional political lines and why politicians are frightened of splitting traditional parties. Thet don't want a parliamentary vote. A bit like Brexit.

The need is also not clear given cost and the the already overwhelming weight of opinion. Its even crazier that certain right wingers state, before the refferendum, that they will ignore the democratic vote and follow their conscience. As if we elected them for their morals. :D

But to go to your point. Many expect that this national debate on a single issue will bring out the worst in a minority of bigots. Not in terms of their views but about their abuse and hate. The result is already clear but the process will be ugly.

Professional politicians whipping up the mob is one way of getting business done - I prefer that its done on time established elections, mandate, parliamentary debate, committees, negotiation etc..
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Re: An example to us all.

Post by newcastle »

Hafiz wrote:Carrie. Thanks.

Not sure its about lust for power etc. Maybe we have left all the dirty work to the political professionals for a century for so and forgotten, if we every knew, how angry and nasty mass public debate could get. I'm far from sure that, on divisive issues, and refferenda are always about divisive issues, people behave rationally. Maybe these are arguments for professional representatives.

In Australia we are to vote in a referendum before Christmas on same sex marriage. The reasons for the need to go to a referendum are complex but are connected with the way this issue cuts across traditional political lines and why politicians are frightened of splitting traditional parties. Thet don't want a parliamentary vote. A bit like Brexit.

The need is also not clear given cost and the the already overwhelming weight of opinion. Its even crazier that certain right wingers state, before the refferendum, that they will ignore the democratic vote and follow their conscience. As if we elected them for their morals. :D

But to go to your point. Many expect that this national debate on a single issue will bring out the worst in a minority of bigots. Not in terms of their views but about their abuse and hate. The result is already clear but the process will be ugly.

Professional politicians whipping up the mob is one way of getting business done - I prefer that its done on time established elections, mandate, parliamentary debate, committees, negotiation etc..
Hear hear...although I'm getting nowhere persuading Horus and Zooropa that referendums ( or -a if you prefer) are a far from ideal way of governing ourselves ( for the reasons you state...and others) :)

I think it's something my esteemed friends and I will just have to disagree on :ct

I have to say that the sheer ugliness of some of the fallout does, as Carrie says, take your breath away. :(
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Re: An example to us all.

Post by Hafiz »

Here is a bit of history from a country that has had a few referendum and plebiscites. Over 30 (I think, I'm being lazy) since 1901. Overwhelmingly, they have been necessary to amend the constitution (referendum) rather than votes on general public issues (plebiscite). Same sex marriage is not constitutionally required but is, unusually, a public vote on a general public issue where politicians don't want to make the decision. A plebiscite.

One third of referendum have succeeded. Generally, Australians are suspicious of change on big issues.

No (or very very few and none recent) referendum or plebiscite have succeeded without bi-partisan support from all major parties. This promotes consensus and unity.

All extreme proposals have failed miserably - military conscription in WW1, bank nationalization or outlawing the communist party.

Years are spent in developing Parliamentary committee reports, consultative committees, public debate on options etc before a refined question is put to the people. Same-sex marriage will be more a pig in a poke affair but it is not a constitutional amendment merely a plebiscite.

Our referendum are a bit different - to be successful you need a majority of overall votes and a majority of states. This can mean that small population states can defeat the day and. therefore, there is a greater need for consensus rather than winner (in terms of overall votes) takes all. (The UK is currently considering other aspects of our voting systems and how they promote consensus)

The overall approach in the last 50 years, in the case of successful votes, has been to first develop a national consensus and then put it to a vote (referendum or plebiscite) with the prospect of overwhelming support.

We face another referendum in the next few years over recognition of aboriginal people in the constitution. Years have been spent in developing a consensus and the terms of the question and this has been done to avoid ugly acrimony, misunderstanding and opportunities for racists to turn it into a brawl. The result has never been in doubt the only issues were the precise question and ways to ensure a dignified debate and an overwhelming result.

Why would you want to take an historic decision about the nation without overwhelming public support? How would that promote unity/ Oh I forgot you have the fail safe unity machine - the crown. :D With that you don't need consensus.

I glamorize the Australian system only slightly and purely for tactical advantage. :D

An afterword. The Irish had to do a constitutional referendum on same sex marriage. It could not be done by Parliament. As it happened it was an overwhelming vote but only after a very ugly campaign where people who would not normally get a voice in sensible politics were given a forum to spit hate.I guess the lesson, understood in this country, is that these votes on single issues mean a whole lot of people come out from under stones and feel entitled to engage in irrational rant. Nothing wrong with old fashioned bigotry presented as a rational debate - but the Irish experience was of something worse.
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Re: An example to us all.

Post by Major Thom »

But if Oz, the same has UK, a referendum is now being put has being an advisory role to the Government and not a definitive and done thing, in other words the vote on Brexit was only advisory, and the Government of the day does not have to take notice.