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 :-