Understanding the EU debate

Many people are still saying that they don’t understand what’s at stake in the EU referendum. As part of an independent, not for profit, organisation I have created this guide to explain what the points on each side are. The European Union is a series of international agreements that 28 European countries have made between […]

Scottish Home Rule: More Power to whom? The need for citizen participation.

  As of 5 o’clock on Halloween it transpired that Lord Smith of Kelvin and the members of his cross partycommittee were going to have a lot of reading to do over the coming weeks. This was due the phenomenal response to their call for submissions from the public on what additional powers should be […]

Binary bind, or why this kite won’t fly

We’re going through the “Cameron will promise an in/out referendum” kite-flying exercise again. If anything, it confirms Iain Martin’s point that the Eurosceptic position is splintering into incompatible positions under the pressure of scrutiny. How many options on the UK’s future European status are there? A non-exhaustive list would be: Mandelson-Blairism: Get back into being […]

That’s enough referendums, say Swiss

I hadn’t spotted this until just now, but about a month ago a Swiss referendum rejected a proposal from a pressure group with far right links to put all new international treaties or treaty amendments to a referendum. It was a thrashing, really, as no canton voted in favour and the national vote was less than […]

A bit of love for the Living Voters Guide (Washington state)

Via the DO-Wire mailing list, I came across a great little site set up to help voters discuss and learn about the ballot initiatives in the 2011 elections in Washington state. You can take a look here: Your guide to the 2011 Washington Election – The Living Voters Guide. I particularly liked the Wrangl-like “Yes/no” […]

Referendums: still not democratic

Another day, another proof that referendums are the tool of the powerful, not of the people. Today’s comes from David Cameron. The Guardian reports that he’s trying to force a Scottish independence referendum earlier than the SNP would like to hold it – in the next eighteen months rather than in 2014. Whatever the legal […]

Mayoral referendum question

The Question for the mayoral referendums has been announced – at least, I assume it’s the same for all referendums that are taking place on the same issue – and is on the Liverpool Yes campaign’s website. The question reads: Q. How would you like Liverpool City Council to be run? By a leader who is […]

Competing democracies

So, if the Greek parliament votes to sack George Papandreou and thereby cancels plans for Greece to hold a risk-laden referendum, is that democracy? Is it democratic to use referendums as a tool of political advantage (as they often are used)? Is it democratic to cancel plans for a referendum by a vote in the […]