Referendums are a key part of democracy, they give the general population a voice and a stage to voice their concerns and vote on matters that will ultimately affect them, however the inclusion of more referendums will cause voter fatigue and furthermore will involve many people with low subject knowledge into making decisions that they are misinformed on. Referendums gives a higher level of participation but with so many alternative options in ways to participate this is not needs and there are more negatives that come along with it than there are positives.
Given that democracy is effectively ‘the rule of the people’ an increase in the number of referendums held would be extremely beneficial as it allows more participation in political issues leading to a more legitimate government and a greater support from voters. Moreover, in the cases of difficult negotiations over a peace settlement in societies afflicted by years of civil conflict, the prospect of a popular vote on the final deal concentrates the minds of those negotiating on coming up with proposals that can be politically sustained. It hinders rich elites in the Lords and Commons being able to govern what happens in the country.
Turnout in the UK while being on the uprise is still extremely low with the current amount of referendums so an increase in the number of referendums would be ludicrous as it would lower the already low turnout. Specifically over second order referendums the turnout would become so low for example a figure of 33.8% average turnout to second order elections in 2016, that it would actually lose legitimacy as the same individuals would be voting giving no range or scope in what the public as a whole wants. Overall just the sheer lack of turnout and participation in referendums currently would indicate that inclusion of more referendums would be not only a bad idea but one that would harm the political system with so few people voting.
There are other methods in which the public can get involved in politics not only referendums, with the new explosion of social media platforms people are given a place to voice their opinion on the matter and talk to others to enhance their knowledge and give a great general knowledge to those around them on political matters. Moreover more referendums are not needed because there is also Pressure groups and Think Tanks that people can get involved in that mean that they can participate in UK politics, this is more beneficial than more referendums because it gives a variety of choice as to methods of participation giving people the freedom, as they should in a democracy, to participate in politics in whatever way they feel like they should.
On the flip side of this via the use of social media, people can be influenced and fed false information leading to an uneducated decision. Moreover, some argue that a referendum is the most pure form of democracy and gives a much purer form of democracy with everyone having one vote in how they want to see UK democracy progress and policies that they want to see implemented and amended. Overall the variety in methods of participation gives a much better overview to peoples opinions on political matters and provides a more free democracy.
Finally, an increase in the number of referendums leads to more politically uneducated people making decisions for the entire country which could have bad connotations, this say on smaller and more arduous decision should be left to those that have spent their lives studying and bettering themselves in making these decisions, while it may seem that this contradicts democracy these officials are elected by the people giving them their ‘blessing’ to make these kind of decisions.
In conclusion the UK do not need any more referendums than they currently have as the referendums that we currently hold are for large decisions and the smaller, less important decisions are made by MP’s that have been elected to do this job. Moreover voter fatigue and low turnout is already an issue in the UK and an increase in the number of referendums would only make this worse, if people want to participate more in politics then there are many alternative and in some cases more beneficial ways in which they can do so.