I have always had problems with the notion of referendums. I recall writing something in opposition to the concept many years at University, which is why I voted against the notion at the meeting, held at the Central Club on the Sainsbury’s road development for Leek. For one thing as one speaker pointed out fundamentally they are a lazy way of people coming to a decision. I felt very uncomfortable with the information that was put forward at the meeting last week. I am sure that the Councillor’s present did their best, but how do you inform people of such a complex matter in a simple sentence?
All too often voters in a referendum are more likely driven by transient whims than careful deliberation, or that they are not sufficiently informed to make decisions on complicated or technical issues. Also, voters might be swayed by strong personalities which I am sure will be the case with the Leek vote. The early American President James Madison argued that direct democracy that Referendum represents is the "tyranny of the majority." And the way that one Councillor who was brave enough to argue a contrary view at the meeting at the Central Club was treated offers further proof of this tendency.
I am writing on Worlds Aids Day and the use of community involvement in choosing health preferences was bought into focus in the American State of Oregon. In the early 90s Oregon reduced over 10 000 medical procedures to a list of 709 medical conditions and their related treatments. Through a process of community meetings, public opinion surveys Oregon then ranked these treatments. These rankings were intended to reflect community priorities regarding different medical conditions and services, physicians' opinions on the value of clinical procedures and objective data on the effectiveness of various treatment outcomes. Treatments for HIV patients and "sexual dysfunction’s" came bottom of the poll; treatments for children came towards the top. This example rather proves the point that prejudice rather than a serious consideration of the issues will be the driver when the referendum vote is taken.
Beside writing as a historian, Referendum were the favourite tool of Hitler and Mussolini