Monday, July 29, 2013


             In Switzerland citizens have a right to call a referendum on any issue they like, so long as they gather enough signatures.   Indeed any new law brought before the Swiss Parliament can be challenged by the voters before it is enacted.   If 1% of the population sign up to a proposal within an 18-month period, the public can vote on it and if passed, it becomes law.   This is direct democracy in action.  Suppose we were to require a 5% threshold that would require nearly 2 million people to sign up – an exacting demand, but by no means a prohibitive one.   Once an action had been voted on there would have to be a minimum period before it could be brought up again to prevent a yo yo effect on contentious issues.

The people should have the right to have a referendum on any issue where 5% of the electorate have signed a petition calling for one.   If passed it should become law.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Right of Recall

One of the weaknesses of our electoral system is that once a representative has been elected they cannot be dismissed until the next election.   This diminishes accountability.   Voters should have a right to recall, effectively dismiss an elected representative if they were dissatisfied with the representative’s performance or record.   This would enable voters to have some say over how representatives carry out their duties between elections.   The electorate is quite capable of distinguishing between a representative and a delegate and would use this right sparingly, nevertheless it would make an MP think twice before voting against the electorate's wishes.
The procedure would be that a specified percentage of voters would have to sign a legal petition calling for a referendum on the simple question “should ……… be recalled – yes/no”.   A majority vote would prevail.

Voters should have the right to recall and/or effectively dismiss their elected representative.