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Matt Qvortrup

, and it is easy to conclude that referendums have gone from being a shield against executive dominance to being a weapon in the hands of the executive. To draw such a conclusion from a handful of conspicuous cases would, however, be hasty and unwarranted. Whether referendums and plebiscites have become more associated with populism and semi-authoritarian tendencies requires an analysis of all the votes held in different countries since 1973. Figure 1 Total number of referendums and plebiscites in Free, Partly Free and Not Free states 1973–2016 This

in Government by referendum
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Holding power to account
Author: Matt Qvortrup

Voters can be sophisticated. In 2018, a majority of the voters in Florida voted for a conservative governor, but they also voted to give prisoners the right to vote, something the Republican Governor had opposed. The voters showed that they were able to distinguish measures from men. Politics is not just about tribal partisanship. Voters demand more choice. And they are able to exercise their judgement. Florida is not unique. This is a global trend. A large majority of voters all over the world – according to opinion polls – want more referendums. But are they capable of making decisions on complex issues? And aren’t such votes an invitation to ill-considered populism? This book answers these questions and shows what the effect of referendums have on public policy, on welfare and well-being, and outlines how some of the criticisms of referendums and initiatives can be remedied.

Christopher Snedden

he became Chief Minister of J&K in 1975. In order for him to take this position, Abdullah had to accept that J&K was with, and was an integral part of, India. This chapter discusses Sheikh Abdullah and his often unclear, indeed contrary, attitudes to independence or autonomy or self-determination for J&K during the period 1953–82. During his periods of brief release from detention, and certainly after his final release in 1968, Abdullah continued to talk of self-determination for J&K-ites via the Plebiscite Front, a political body he was

in Independent Kashmir
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Sarah Lonsdale

after the plebiscite of 13 January 1935 appeared in the Observer newspaper on 20 January. The article meticulously details the house-to-house searches, the protestors being taken to German prisons and concentration camps. It describes police prejudice and an international peace-keeping force – to which Britain had supplied 1,500 soldiers – incapable of protecting the anti-Nazi minority. 2 In a series of articles, which appeared throughout January and early February 1935, the writer warned both of the brutality of the Nazis when in the ascendant, and of the

in Rebel women between the wars
Melodramatic and moral readings of gay conversion therapy in A Place to Call Home
Alley-Young Gordon R.

survey. Actors Sara Wiseman (Carolyn) and Craig Hall’s (Jack) social media video mocked the government, the plebiscite expense, and urged Australians to vote ‘yes’ (FOD, 2017). Actor Marta Dusseldorp (Sarah) staged a human rainbow with Sydney’s fashion/creative professionals in Hyde Park ( Clarke, 2017 ). Noni Hazelhurst (Elizabeth) signed a petition against the marriage plebiscite and for a free parliamentary vote ( Kirk, 2016

in Diagnosing history
Matt Qvortrup

brief history of independence referendums Speaking in Sevastopol in Crimea on 12 May 2012, President Vladimir Putin called on all countries “to respect the right of Russians to self-determination” 5 . This came a few weeks after he had backed and probably helped organise the plebiscite in Crimea 6 . After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has on several occasions

in Democracy on demand
Christopher Snedden

defend against. Around the same time, Sheikh Abdullah privately told ‘the top officers at the Srinagar Secretariat’ that J&K's accession to India ‘was conditional and subject to a plebiscite’. 38 While differing from what he told The Times , this private stance made to ‘his’ bureaucrats was not surprising. It reflected Governor-General Mountbatten's response on 27 October to Maharaja Hari Singh's accession that, after normalcy was restored in J&K, ‘it is my Government's wish that … the question of

in Independent Kashmir
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The spectre of direct democracy
Matt Qvortrup

in Britain have all lost plebiscites. Verily, “history repeats itself, first time as tragedy and second time as farce” 2 . As already noticed, these plebiscites – to use a French term – are not popular referendums. The “history of all hitherto existing society is the history of struggles between elites and the people”, to once more paraphrase the aforementioned revolutionaries 3 . The same is true for

in Democracy on demand
Matt Qvortrup

form we know it today (a vote by the mass population on a policy proposal) was the invention of the French revolutionaries. The so-called Girondins – who were in conflict with the more radical Jacobins – proposed that the people should be allowed to veto constitutional changes. And this, according to Tuck, ‘was the first time that the modern notion of a plebiscite or a referendum had been raised’ (Tuck 2016 : 143). It perhaps says a lot about the cavalier fashion in which direct democracy is treated that the otherwise well-informed scholar got it wrong. For, as we

in Government by referendum
The theoretical justification for citizen involvement
Matt Qvortrup

M. Qvortrup (2003) The Political Philosophy of Jean-­Jacques Rousseau: The Impossibility of Reason, Manchester, Manchester University Press. 17 The political theory of direct democracy19 basically controlled the elites. As Rousseau put it, in an often overlooked passage from The Origin of Inequality: I would not have approved of plebiscites like those of the Romans . . . On the contrary, I would have desired that, in order to stop self-­interested and badly conceived projects and the dangerous innovations which finally ruined the Athenians, no single man had

in Direct democracy