Introduction
in Government by referendum
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This introduction covers some key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. In parliamentary systems, referendums are redundant as by seeking a simplistic binary yes/no answer to complex questions, they succumb to emotion and run amok. The book explores whether there more referendums now than in the past, whether that has made the world become more democratic. It examines whether referendums are linked with the growth in social movements in recent years and whether there is a tendency to use alternative channels to challenge the status quo. It also examines whether there is the undeniable prominence of referendums undermining representative democracy. The book outlines the world history of the referendum, and analyses the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence and the 2016 vote on the UK's membership to the EU, and summarises some of the trends and tendencies in the use of the referendum internationally.

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