Archive for March, 2012

Experts call for double referendum

March 9, 2012

INIREF REPLY TO SCOTSMAN ARTICLE:

Scottish independence: ‘Only double referendum can decide UK’s future’
Alex Salmond: accused of changing position on referendum day by day. By SCOTT MACNAB  Published on Thursday 8 March 2012 00:31

INIREF REPLY (comment 111):

The idea that a ballot of the Scottish people should be held to decide on whether to accept a final negotiated treaty is not new. We put this forward a few weeks ago, recommending

“A first ballot to see if there is a majority for independence. If  Yes, then Referendum II to decide on the content of a treaty with the UK. Failing to carry out the second ballot would be like buying a pig in a poke. There are many potential tricks and traps. We the People should be made aware of the treaty’s content before we must commit ourselves. The decision is very serious, will affect the lives of many generations and so should be based on full knowledge.”

See the discussion from scot.politics and other Usenet groups via
http://groups.google.com/group/scot.politics/browse_thread/thread/cc95a27100bbac2b?hl=en#

Our “pig in a poke” comparison – see Scotsman article – seems to have caught on 🙂

To be fair, we did not dream up the idea of a “treaty referendum”. Robert Hazell (constitution unit UCL) mooted this in 2002 and in 2007 the SNP conceded, “A second referendum would recognise the significance of the decision for Scotland to become independent and allow the people of Scotland the final say on the matter.” (Constitutional conversation)

The SNP’s (so far) rejection of a referendum about the completed treaty seems unwise. If the people were able to consider and decide upon matters of substance in this way there would be a better foundation for the future of Scotland and for its relationship with the (remaining) UK.

2012-02-27 Scottish independence referendum not fit for purpose

March 7, 2012

Two criticisms of the referendum proposal as it stands:

1. The referendum as proposed (February 2012) by the SNP led scottish government will be about the principle of independence or some weaker variant, putting a simple, “opener” question (or maybe two). It cannot address the substance of an independence treaty.

2. In order that the people of Scotland can decide democratically and legitimately, the FINAL NEGOTIATED TREATY or SETTLEMENT PROPOSAL must be put before the electorate and people in a legally binding referendum ballot, after the government and others have organised comprehensive public briefing, detailing  and explaining what is on offer.

I&R ~ GB Citizens’ Initiative and Referendum
Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
https://iniref.wordpress.com/

2012-02-24 Who should decide to hold a referendum of the people?

March 7, 2012

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

similar posted also to:

http://ourscotland.myfreeforum.org/sutra122819.php#122819

http://www.scotland.com/forums/scottish-politics/

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INIREF Citizens’ Initiative and Referendum

Campaign for direct democracy in Britain

2011-4-25 Chances for direct democracy in Scotland: The parties

March 7, 2012

PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:24 pm    Post subject: Chances for direct democracy in Scotland: The parties Reply with quote


Chances for direct democracy in Scotland

The scottish political parties approaching a Holyrood election 2011
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We present a sketch, a rapid survey, drawn from manifestos and other sources.

We appeal for factual corrections and comments.

Statement of our aims in this rapid survey.
As a campaign we of I&R ~ GB at iniref.org advocate the introduction of citizen-led direct democracy (CDD) at all levels of government. We regard a combination of direct democracy with existing forms of indirect, “representative” democracy to be the best known realistically achievable system of legislation and government. So we measure the promises and apparent intentions of political parties against this “gold” standard which, although probably not perfect, is “state of the art” governance.

An “authority-imposed” referendum or plebiscite is not regarded as belonging to citizen-led direct democracy. Provided that the result of the ballot is legally binding then this form of referendum may be classified as direct democracy. If the result is non-binding then the procedure should be considered to be a sort of consultation.

Scottish Conservative Party
No promise of citizen-led democracy CDD. The manifesto mentions that citizens of some Scottish cities may be allowed to vote in a referendum on the question of elected mayors.

Greens Scotland
Their manifesto does *not* explicitly promise to introduce CDD.
They write “Local community empowerment is an agenda” but do not explain how this will be organised. Further they write, “We’ll argue for a multi-option referendum with choices including the status quo, a stronger Scottish Parliament with powers defined through a participative process, and full independence based on a written constitution, and we will back this third option. We’ll also put the case for the decentralisation of power from Holyrood and local authorities.”

Scottish Liberal Democratic Party
No promise of citizen-led democracy CDD.

Scottish Labour
No promise of citizen-led democracy CDD. There is a commitment to consult the electorate more about local planning issues.

Scottish National Party
No promise of citizen-led democracy CDD in the manifesto.
They propose to hold an authority-imposed plebiscite: “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.”
Background:
A. In 2010 Unlock Democracy (formerly Charter88) surveyed political parties, asking,
“Direct Democracy – does the SNP have policy on increasing direct democracy – eg. Petitions committees, people’s bills, referendums”
REPLY FROM SNP: “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. We also support a new Petitions Committee in the House of Commons, much like that of the Scottish Parliament, which encourages active involvement in the proceedings of Parliament.” Source Alexandra Runswick www.votefordemocracy.org.uk
B. At a recent SNP party conference a motion to introduce CDD by Alex Orr from Edinburgh received overwhelming support.

United Kingdom Independence Party
They promise to introduce citizen-led direct democracy CDD. To quote the manifesto, “UKIP alone trusts Scottish and British people to exercise a new right to demand a legislative referendum on any law, present or proposed. The result of any referendum will be binding on those we elect.”
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Above posted to forum http://ourscotland.myfreeforum.org/about7846.html&highlight=iniref

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I&R ~ GB Citizens’ Initiative and Referendum
Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
http://www.iniref.org/
http://www.iniref.org/latest.html

2012-01-26 Scotland: Quality of Independence

March 7, 2012

Opinion, not necessarily endorsed by iniref I&R ~ GB
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Considering the Quality of Independence for Scotland


You say you want your Indepe-e-e-endnce w-e-e-ll you know,
We all wanna change the world …
(After J. Lennon)

The referendum question or proposal — as far as the public knows in January 2012 — has not yet been finally decided.  Let us suppose that people resident in Scotland are asked to vote for or against Scotland becoming an independent country. Maybe after the years of Scottish National Party (SNP) campaigning the “yes” voters will win in 2014.

And then?

What will we have achieved?

As a Scot, in favour of peoples’ self-determination, of power devolved to regions, localities, above all to citizens, of strong democracy in the form of rule-by-the-people … (a) … I have my doubts about the proposed decision to separate Scotland from England and the rest of the UK.

I should mention here the fact that even “full” independence, of the sort to be expected with the SNP steering the country, would be incomplete. We might remain subjugate in finance politics, if we keep the UK pound and of course if we take the Euro. Worse, much worse, from the above perspective (a) of freedom from illegitimate power is that we will remain under the yoke of the English and UK monarchy. This holds not only symbolic power but can act using the secretive and opaque “royal prerogative”, while resembling a rather powerful though unelected and hereditary (in which century do we live?!!) presidency. We do not forget that in Australia, a country with vassal status similar to that proposed for Scotland in “independence” a few decades ago the UK monarch dismissed a prime minister and forced a change of democratically elected government. Other monarchic powers are so secret that we the people are not even allowed to know what they are!!

Scots, the English need us in order to struggle for their freedom and development. Their democracy is weak and resembles an “elective dictatorship”. Their (UK) parliament is largely supine, following the whip of the interest-controlled political parties. Even their indirect (“representative”) democracy is a laughing stock among experts and a bane for the electorate. The English need our help:

— to revitalise, revise and define their constitution of state, shaking off much dust of a thousand years;

— to introduce the principle that all political power belongs to the people, not to politicians and their rich supporters, not to corporations and banks, not to princes, kings nor emperors. This means “sovereignty” of the people and of nobody else;

— to pioneer citizen-led direct democracy in order to complement, steer, check and balance the sometimes erratic governance of parties and parliaments;

— to give our humanity, solidarity, energy and creativity for all these universal ideals;

— to cajole the UK into a crucible of constitutional reform and democratic development — this could most easily be done from the inside.

Having achieved the above we could stride down a path towards richer autonomy and national independence for all citizens, peoples, regions and countries.

Let us tak’ the High Road tae freedom!

Wallace-Macpherson

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Published by
I&R ~ GB Citizens’ Initiative and Referendum
Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
http://www.iniref.org/

Discuss at our WordPress blog, on Facebook or in other fora.

2011-4 SNP policy on direct democracy and referenda

March 7, 2012
PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:11 am    Post subject: SNP policy on devolution of power to electorate Reply with quote

The Scottish National Party promises to let the electorate decide about national independence in a referendum vote.But what is the SNP’s policy concerning more “power to the people”?If elected to govern would they introduce stronger, citizen-led democracy such as the citizens’ law proposition, binding referendum and the right of the electorate to veto unwanted laws?Last year the SNP was asked about this in a formal survey.

Unlock Democracy (formerly Charter88) surveyed political parties, asking,

“Direct Democracy – does the SNP have policy on increasing direct democracy – eg. Petitions committees, people’s bills, referendums”

REPLY FROM SNP: “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. We also support a new Petitions Committee in the House of Commons, much like that of the Scottish Parliament, which encourages active involvement in the proceedings of Parliament.” Source Alexandra Runswick www.votefordemocracy.org.uk

So, the SNP say that they support stronger, direct democracy-by-the-people.

But, in their 2011 manifesto we can find no mention of democracy reform.

Can anyone explain this?

Posted at: http://ourscotland.myfreeforum.org/about7854.html&highlight=iniref
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I&R ~ GB Citizens’ Initiative and Referendum
Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
http://www.iniref.org/

Scottish parties and dd
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Democracy-Forum/message/378


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