Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Democracy Swiss style

I have a Google ‘Alert’ for any matters on Direct Democracy and last week I received the link to the article at the bottom of this post.

In summary - On June 13th this year the sovereign Swiss people rejected the so-called CO2 Law to curb green house gas emissions. The legislation would have raised fees and taxes on fuel and airline flights in 2022.

The Swiss system of Direct Democracy empowers citizens more than a Representative Democracy. It allows major policy decisions to be subjected to referenda and citizens’ assessments, effectively correcting excesses of politics by party interests.

Our fourth demand ‘The People’s Consent’ lays out the mechanisms which would allow the people the chance, through a successful petition, to obtain a referendum. We suggest there should be three types, advisory, to stop proposed new or cancel existing legislation and allowing the public to express opinions on certain types of government decisions or official bodies.  Before a referendum was granted all three would be subject to qualifying petition results and then sensible benchmarks being met on turnout and winning margin.

The importance of how the use of referenda would improve democracy and political accountability cannot be overstated. One of the key points is that once a referendum had been granted, by a revamped body like the Electoral Commission, there would be an ‘official’ campaign period when both sides would be able to explain their positions.

Whatever you may think of ‘official’ referendum campaigns, given the issues around Brexit, it does NOT take away from the fact the public do get to hear both sides of the debate over a specific period of say a month.

The generation of the official phase for debate would allow the public to hear both sides of the argument, in some cases for the first time, and give them time to weigh up whether they supported the motion or not. For those who believe the people cannot be trusted to make such decisions I would firmly stress that our politicians do not have a great record in legislating sound well thought out laws.

Another factor is that currently, if our politicians pass ‘bad’ laws, nobody is held to account and yet it is the people that suffer the consequences. Alternatively, if the ‘People’ make a bad decision they will have to live with their mistake and would hopefully learn from it.

Politicians don’t like Direct Democracy, as it puts power into the citizens’ hands, but it is the closest democratic system to REAL DEMOCRACY there is and the sooner the people wake up and demand it the better.

 The full article is here :-,politics,3547.html



  1. Another huge benefit of referendums, aka the 4th demand, is that people become politically aware, as they are involved in policy making decisions. Their ability to make informed decisions will improve the more that they are involved.

    At the moment, there is a huge gulf between the people and the decision making process, which suits those in power. We are becoming like the EU in that people vote in MEPs so some think that this is democracy, whereas MEPs have little real power in theory and even less in practice as all law making power is held by the unelected Commission. We have the power to vote in MPs, one day in 5 years, but a back bench MP has little real power against the increasingly remote inner cabal of government, whether it carries the Labour or Conservative badge.

    The people are waking up, but very slowly, demonstrated by the disparate groups that met up for the last anti-lockdown demonstration in London, which despite the huge numbers and great aerial photographs of mass crowds, was almost completely censored by the MSM - another worrying sign.

    I know that you hope for them to rise up behind THA, but without some sort of leadership, that is just not going to happen. The people will rise up behind whatever charismatic leader captures their attention. Just look at the history of rebellions to see this happen.

    Is THA going to form a political party or some other grouping? In the absence of that, people are more likely to form up behind the likes of Lawrence Fox, Richard Tice or (please no) Nigel Farage.

  2. I'm surprised you ask but NO we will not form a political party.

    The trouble is not lack of leadership but that the people are still too comfortable and simply cannot be bothered in large enough numbers.

    Proof of this point is that even Farage never got enough votes to get and MP in the Commons and as to Fox and Tice they may lead parties but they are going nowhere IMO.

    All radical political reform needs mass support but I am convinced that if our governance keeps on deteriorating then the mass support will come as will the leadership - will you lead in Swindon?!

    1. It's tempting to stand as an MP aligned to THA, but I'm somewhat old for that now.

      The question, of course, is what form of leadership will come when mass 'support; for change begins to appear.

    2. As to standing as an Independent aligned to THA I fear you would be wasting your time and money and I speak from past experience.

  3. As and when required Dr North and I will lead but our, mass Gene Sharp style peaceful, protests will be internet driven with ideally regional THA Ambassadors.

  4. A lot of people cite Edmund Burke with his speech about owing his electors his conscience. The problem with that is elected representatives acting on behalf of vested interests rather than the good of their electors. Those representatives, and I'd say they are on the majority, have no conscience.

  5. Two minds that I have respect for are Dawkins and the late Roger Scruton. Yet I believe they had one thing wrong. They both believe(d) that referendums are anti constitutional and bad things. They believed that decisions should be made through representatives. I think we've seen the disasters that has brought. I think we've seen our representatives act in the interests of themselves or small minorities.running a nation state is one thing, deciding massive changes or changes to the constitution are another.