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Who should decide to hold a referendum of the people?
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iniref
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:09 pm    Post subject: Who should decide to hold a referendum of the people?  Reply with quote

Who should decide to hold a referendum of the people?

Despots and governments have oft used the plebiscite (decision by the people or electorate, "referendum") to manipulate politics and trick their rivals.

Who will decide how and when to hold a referendum about independence of Scotland? Will that be the Scottish National Party, one or a few of its leaders, the Scottish government or parliament, or perhaps our masters the UK government? Why should not the *electorate* decide when to have a referendum and also possess the right to put forward a clear, written proposition? According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country" both directly (on issues) or by electing MPs. See how this can work at http://www.iniref.org/steps.html

INIREF Citizens' Initiative and Referendum
Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
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Shagpile
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will answer, but, who's democracy do YOU speak for mate?
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Shagpile
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Q ring thing & Troll.
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iniref
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:03 am    Post subject: Who should decide to hold a referendum of the people? Reply with quote

Shagpile wrote:
I will answer, but, who's democracy do YOU speak for mate?


If we had the option to use direct democracy then a set of agreed regulations would take care of when a referendum would be held. Many countries already have this kind of democracy up and running so it would be easy to pick the best method for Scotland. Any person or group can put forward a proposal and try to collect voter-endorsements ("signatures"). Once the agreed number has been reached (sometimes there is a time limit) then the proposal goes before parliament which must debate and decide on it. Parliament may adopt the proposal as law and only if parl. rejects the proposal must a referendum be held, within a fixed time limit. The majority decision in the ballot-referendum becomes law.

In 2010 the SNP stated their support for this kind of democracy.

Citizens' Initiative and Referendum
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http://www.iniref.org/case.html
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Holebender
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Scottish Government is currently consulting about its referendum proposals. The outcome of that consultation will include the answers to most of your questions. Who decides? Ultimately, the Parliament by a majority vote. How did we get to this point? By the public electing parliamentarians who stood for election on a manifesto which included a commitment to a referendum on independence. Most people consider that to be democratic.

BTW, you might consider the UK Government your master, but I do not. I am a sovereign citizen and the government serves me, not the other way round.
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Dave Coull
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Who should decide to hold a referendum of the people? Reply with quote

iniref wrote:
Who should decide to hold a referendum of the people?
Right away,your question gives rise to another question. Who are "the people"? Seven years ago, I was at a meeting where those present decided to campaign, on a non-party-political basis, for a referendum, of the people, on independence for Scotland. That meant for a "simple, straightforward" question about independence, yes or no. Our working assumption was that "the people" meant "the people who live in Scotland"; a geographical, rather than an ethnic, definition. What  YOU  are essentially advocating is a major re-structuring of the BRITISH constitution. The chances of achieving such a thing within the context of the British state, without outright revolution and civil war, are close to zero. Getting sidetracked into such a diversion would have the effect of  DELAYING  still further a referendum on independence which has, from my point of view, already been delayed more than enough.
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iniref
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:53 pm    Post subject: Who should decide to hold a referendum of the people? Reply with quote

Holebender wrote:
The Scottish Government is currently consulting about its referendum proposals. The outcome of that consultation will include the answers to most of your questions. Who decides? Ultimately, the Parliament by a majority vote. How did we get to this point? By the public electing parliamentarians who stood for election on a manifesto which included a commitment to a referendum on independence. Most people consider that to be democratic.


An electorate being consulted is not the same as holding the right to propose and initiate a referendum. Consultation may be better than nothing but that is not always the case.

The SNP manifesto 2011 reads, "We think the people of Scotland should decide our nation’s future in a democratic referendum and opinion polls suggest that most Scots agree. We will, therefore, bring forward our Referendum Bill in this next Parliament."

Many aspects of independence are mentioned either briefly (EU, defence, pensions) or not at all (head of state i.e. monarchy or not, devo-max and other variants).

The manifesto does not make clear that in the event of a yes vote for independence then before independence can begin there would have to be "negotiations" (or horse trading?) with the UK.

Our main point is that with stronger democracy the electorate would not be so much pulled around by the nose by parties and governments but could more effectively contribute to formulate and propose constitutional and policy-directions.

Citizens' Initiative and Referendum
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http://www.iniref.org/latest.html
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Dave Coull
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Who should decide to hold a referendum of the people? Reply with quote

iniref wrote:
a set of agreed regulations would take care of when a referendum would be held
Who would enact this "set of agreed regulations"? In a British context, the only body which could legally enact such "regulations" would be the Westminster Parliament. Now, I happen to think that the chances of the Westminster Parliament doing this are virtually zero; but let's just suppose for one second that such a proposition was to be put to the Westminster Parliament. How would such a proposition be viewed in Scotland? Answer, as unwarranted interference by Westminster in the process of a referendum on Scottish independence. I have, for the past seven years and more, been consistently in favour of holding, without delay, a non-party-political referendum on a single, straightforward, question about independence for Scotland. It looks like we're going to get that single, straightforward, non-party-political, question  -  the wording suggested by Alex Salmond meets all those criteria. As for "without delay", that is a matter for popular pressure on the Scottish Parliament. It is none of Westminster's damn business.
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Holebender
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iniref, I believe you are not well versed in Scottish politics, and not very knowledgeable about referendums either. Most people in Scotland understand the issues, so they did not need to be spelled out in a manifesto. Scotland's referendum will be about independence from the UK. Introducing other issues like monarchy, EU, defence would only muddy the waters, not make anything any clearer. As for devo-max, it's not SNP policy so why should it be in an SNP manifesto?

I'm open and sympathetic to the notion of citizen-initiated referendum, and it would be a good thing in independent Scotland, but it won't and can't happen until Scotland becomes independent. Scotland's independence referendum is happening because Scotland's independence party won an election and that is all I am interested in at the moment. Your intervention is nothing but a distraction which may be innocent, but which could also be a deliberate attempt to create confusion and dissent. Either way, it is not welcome at this time.
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iniref
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Who should decide to hold a referendum of the people? Reply with quote

Dave Coull wrote:
iniref wrote:
a set of agreed regulations would take care of when a referendum would be held
Who would enact this "set of agreed regulations"? In a British context, the only body which could legally enact such "regulations" would be the Westminster Parliament. Now, I happen to think that the chances of the Westminster Parliament doing this are virtually zero; but let's just suppose for one second that such a proposition was to be put to the Westminster Parliament. How would such a proposition be viewed in Scotland? Answer, as unwarranted interference by Westminster in the process of a referendum on Scottish independence. I have, for the past seven years and more, been consistently in favour of holding, without delay, a non-party-political referendum on a single, straightforward, question about independence for Scotland. It looks like we're going to get that single, straightforward, non-party-political, question  -  the wording suggested by Alex Salmond meets all those criteria. As for "without delay", that is a matter for popular pressure on the Scottish Parliament. It is none of Westminster's damn business.


Proposals to introduce elements of direct democracy (DD) came into the pre-devolution constitution debate. Politicians commonly oppose what they see as too much "power to the people" and so what came out was the rather weak, although quite popular, Holyrood petition system. Since 1997 the debate about DD has continued in Scotland, support coming from Alex Orr, an SNP politician.

Opinion surveys have shown strong support for DD, afaik on both sides of Hadrian's wall.

In 2010 a survey of political parties was done by Unlock Democracy (formerly Charter 88). The Scottish National Party replied as follows,
"The SNP would like to see direct democracy initiatives that would see the sharing of power with people, giving them real power and a direct say over the most important issues affecting their communities. This would include the triggering of referendums on any national or local issue once a requisite percentage of the electorate had signed a petition on the matter, as undertaken in the likes of Switzerland, the US and New Zealand."

You ask, "Who would enact this "set of agreed regulations"?" Well, for Scotland they could be legislated by the government. Citizens' powers could apply to those areas of politics for which the government is responsible both before and after independence.

For UK, as you ask, the chances may not be so bad. Before he was elected, D. Cameron promised "citizen-instigated referendum" for local and central government. (He seems to have forgotten that promise ....) Again, there is very strong public support for DD in UK-wide polls.

Citizens' Initiative and Referendum
Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
http://www.iniref.org/carta.htm
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Dave Coull
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Who should decide to hold a referendum of the people? Reply with quote

iniref wrote:
Politicians commonly oppose what they see as too much "power to the people"
I'm not a politician. I have reached the age of seventy without ever in my life being a member or a supporter of any political party; and I've never held, and never wanted, any kind of office at any level of government. My reason for opposing your suggestion is that it would be a time-wasting diversion from the need for a referendum on independence as soon as possible.
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chicmac
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am generally in favour of direct democracy and have been for many years, along with others like Matt Qvortrup.

Referendums themselves are undeniably an exercise in democracy but questions arise over who decides to hold one? when it is to be held? how the question will be worded? how many questions will be allowed? who gets to vote? How binding it is?

All of these are open to criticism.

The issue with direct democracy is mainly one about who decides to have a referendum on whatever issue and what the mechanism for doing so is

In most countries and states which allow for DD in their constitution the  usual way is by petition of the electorate with some percentile portion of the electorate (usually 5-10%) being required as signatories to the petition to force a referendum.

A general criticism of DD is that it would lead to populist legislation.  However, there is no evidence of that in practice.  For example, rather conveniently, about half of the States in the USA allow DD. - the death penalty is claimed to be a populist policy - yet the incidence of allowing the death penalty in States which have DD. is significantly less than those which do not have it.

It should be pointed out DD. already exists to a degree South of the Borders.  First of all, I believe there is still provision within the Local Government Act (IIRCC 1972?) which allows for a small meeting (can't recall the exact number but its less than two dozen) of a parish's residents to vote in favour of a referendum and the LGA must allow and fund that referendum.  This was used, not that long ago, with a question over the Maastricht Treaty which made the news for some small town at the time whose name I cannot remember.  In theory a concerted effort throughout England could force an effectively national referendum on whatever issue they liked.

This ability was mirrored in the equivalent Scotland LG ACT at the time (1973?) and Strathclyde held a famous referendum on water privatisation.
I have been unable to ascertain whether such provision survived the demise of the large regions and the introduction of the Scotland Act.

The other measure off DD.  which exists South of the Border, concerns a constitutional matter and relates to the potential changing over to the Mayoral system of Local Government.  If a petition is raised and sufficient signatures obtained (can't remember if it is 5% or 10%) then a referendum must be held to decide whether the Mayoral system is adopted or not.

There is no such option in Scotland.

However, the SNP election victory which gave them a mandate to hold a referendum represents a considerably higher percentage of the Scottish electorate than either of the two DD. systems in place in England.

If the Scottish Government were not allowed to hold a referendum despite having such a huge electoral 'sample' in favour then Tony Blair would have been lying when he assured the English that the new Scottish Parliament only had the power of an English parish, because they wouldn't even have that.


Another crit of DD.  is that it could simply lead to too many referendums.  Tying them to national government elections, i.e. folk vote for referendum issues at the same time as they vote for government, both reduces costs and ensures there are not endless referendums all the time which would distract and disrupt good governance. This is used in the States.

In particular, because of the potentially disruptive nature of them, referendums which bring major constitutional change should also, IMO, require a much larger percentage on the enabling petition, maybe 25% say, before a constitutional referendum is forced.

However, as already said, the percentage of the electorate voting for the SNP and Greens and SSP and Solidarity at the last election far outstripped any reasonable petition percentage requirement any state which allowed DD. (like the UK albeit on the selective basis noted above) would require.

Clearly a petition requiring over say, 50% of the electorate would be in danger, in these apathetic times, of having more respondents than the eventual referendum itself.


Last edited by chicmac on Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:14 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Dave Coull
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holebender wrote:
The Scottish Government is currently consulting about its referendum proposals
I responded both to the Scottish Government’s consultation, and to the UK government’s consultation, as soon as they published them. I told the Scottish Government that, in my opinion, the referendum should be held without delay, and I didn’t accept their excuses for delaying it to the Autumn of 2014. I told the British Government that, although I favoured a referendum without delay, this was a matter for the people of Scotland and the Scottish Parliament, so they should keep their Eton-and-Oxbridge noses out of where they were not wanted.
Holebender wrote:
iniref, I believe you are not well versed in Scottish politics
That is obvious!
Holebender wrote:
Scotland's referendum will be about independence from the UK. Introducing other issues like monarchy, EU, defence would only muddy the waters
Which is what the Unionists want. They don't really want a clear decision on independence-yes-or-no, because they suspect the answer would be “Yes”.
Holebender wrote:
I'm open and sympathetic to the notion of citizen-initiated referendum, and it would be a good thing in independent Scotland
Agreed.
Holebender wrote:
Your intervention is nothing but a distraction
Agreed
Holebender wrote:
which may be innocent, but which could also be a deliberate attempt to create confusion
Even if iniref's intervention wasn't so "innocent", I think it’s perfectly reasonable to discuss this. I wouldn't consider iniref a "troll" for that.
Holebender wrote:
either way, it is not welcome at this time.
Although I disagree with iniref, I think it perfectly reasonable to put such a viewpoint forward, at this or any other time. But at this present time I do regard it as a diversion.
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ythanella
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iniref.  You need to know the ground rules here.  It's very simple. The Scotch Gnats are 100% correct in EVERYTHING they post.
   If you disagree with one word you are a Troll.

  It is officially called The Troll Defense.   You'll soon pick it up.

  The Three Musketeers, Coull, Holebanger and Shagger use this tactic on a daily basis.
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Dave Coull
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hazel Lewry wrote:
An internet troll is described in the urban dictionary as: "One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark off such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks"
And on Thursday 23rd February 2012 I wrote
Quote:
So, here on this 'Our Scotland' forum, a troll might possibly be somebody whose very first post to the forum was an insult to numerous other posters, and who followed that up with more insults to numerous other posters on their very first day here, and on every day since, without even attempting to relate these insults to anything anybody had actually said, and without ever once making the slightest attempt to persuade anybody, or to bring anybody round to their point of view, but merely farting out their vile unthinking prejudice for the sake of farting out their vile unthinking prejudice. If such a contemptible creature existed, there would be no point in dialogue with them. Their taunts should be ignored, and their "questions" should remain unanswered. "Aventinian" is not a troll because, although his firmly Unionist views are extremely different from most of the other folk on this forum, he does try to put forward a rational case for his views. While he can at times be insulting, so can any of us, and he doesn't make too much of a habit of this, and it is certainly not his entire purpose. He does have a coherent (although in my view mistaken) point of view to express. Therefore, questions, and even taunts, from Aventinian, deserve to be answered. But can anyone think of an example that   would    fit the description given above?
And today I wrote
Quote:
Even if iniref's intervention wasn't so "innocent", I think it’s perfectly reasonable to discuss this. I wouldn't consider iniref a "troll" for that.
So, there's a couple of folk with whom I disagree   -   Aventinian the Conservative and Unionist, and iniref for his advocacy of a course of action which I think would delay our referendum   -   who I have stated I do   NOT   consider to be "trolls". And of course there have been loads of other people I have disagreed with on here who I don't consider to be "trolls": I disagree with Phil's view on Muslims and immigration, I disagree with Jamesieboy’s gung-ho attitude on Libya etc,  I disagree with McLearns' crazy conspiracy theories, I disagree with Niall’s support for Siol nan Gaidheal, I disagree with Shagpile when he is talking rubbish (as does happen.....), I disagree with Red Justice’s Irish Republican sympathies, I disagree with Mairead's Jacobite sympathies, I disagree with Azzurri’s pro-capitalist views, I disagree with Holebender's views which also tend to be more pro-capitalist than mine, I disagree with Ergynfeld’s English Nationalism, I disagree with Chicmac's willingness to follow the SNP party line. So, there’s a list of at least  THIRTEEN  people posting on here with whom I have had disagreements. But of course none of   THEM   fit the descrption given above:
Quote:
a troll might possibly be somebody whose very first post to the forum was an insult to numerous other posters, and who followed that up with more insults to numerous other posters on their very first day here, and on every day since, without even attempting to relate these insults to anything anybody had actually said, and without ever once making the slightest attempt to persuade anybody, or to bring anybody round to their point of view, but merely farting out their vile unthinking prejudice for the sake of farting out their vile unthinking prejudice. If such a contemptible creature existed, there would be no point in dialogue with them.
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ythanella
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iniref....Get my drift.
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Dave Coull
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Who should decide to hold a referendum of the people? Reply with quote

iniref wrote:
Who will decide how and when to hold a referendum about independence of Scotland?
"How" is a matter for the people of Scotland to decide. The British government, and the Westminster Parliament, have no business sticking their noses in. "When" is also a matter for the people of Scotland to decide. I personally am in favour of holding a referendum without delay, and I have said so to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish government. Although there could of course be many other ways of letting our feelings be known, I would certainly reccomend that everybody in Scotland should, at least, read the "Consultation" document and fill in the "Response" form at Chapter 6:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/01/1006/0
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ythanella
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"When" is also a matter for the people of Scotland to decide.


 How do the people of Scotland decide when the referendum will be?  Explain that one>
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ythanella
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DITTO Why do you ignore this howler Coull?

Quote:

"When" is also a matter for the people of Scotland to decide.



How do the people of Scotland decide when the referendum will be?  Explain that one?
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Dave Coull
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
a troll might possibly be somebody whose very first post to the forum was an insult to numerous other posters, and who followed that up with more insults to numerous other posters on their very first day here, and on every day since, without even attempting to relate these insults to anything anybody had actually said, and without ever once making the slightest attempt to persuade anybody, or to bring anybody round to their point of view, but merely farting out their vile unthinking prejudice for the sake of farting out their vile unthinking prejudice. If such a contemptible creature existed, there would be no point in dialogue with them. Their taunts should be ignored, and their "questions" should remain unanswered.


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