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Jonathan Freedland
Political Compass

Your right to vote.....on the issues

Welcome to the Direct Votes web page.

We treasure the right to vote, but one vote every few years does not make a democracy. One vote is one small step towards democracy, one vote is a giant leap forward from an absolute monarchy or dictatorship, but it is now time to develop the system.

Democracy is government by the people, and therefore must allow the free participation of the electorate in the decision-making process. This will be achieved by gradually using referenda systematically, so that we can vote on the issues, not just for a representative to make all the decisions for us.

If voting is a good thing, we need more of it !

Direct Votes campaigns for:-

1. A vote on each item in each party's manifesto, in addition to voting for a representative. This will give voters the chance to vote against items they disagree with, rather than having to accept the whole package. They can then also support particular policies from more than one party.

2. Items on which the House of Commons and the House of Lords disagree should be resolved by a referendum.

3. Legislation passed by Parliament to be agreed by the people by referenda - The People's Assent - just as the Royal Assent is required to pass legislation

4. The systematic use of government and citizen initiated referenda, to allow voters to participate in decision-making. This will be the next stage in the development of democracy, now that the universal right to vote for a representative has been achieved.

One vote every four or five years for a representative to make all the decisions for us is the poorest possible form of democracy. The system must continue to develop with the gradual introduction of referenda.

A simple way of beginning this is to work from the notion that a government has a mandate from the electorate based on its manifesto. To confirm this, each party should be able to put one or more items from its manifesto to a referendum, held at the same time as voting for a representative.

Referenda would be held annually, and might lead to annual elections for representatives at the same time. The Chartists in the middle of the 19th Century argued for annual elections as an element of the basic democratic rights which we now take for granted.

representing all

Representatives are not representative of women or ethnic minorities, so action to correct that is being considered by the parties. However, there are a multitude of areas in which representatives are unrepresentative:

income distribution

leisure activities
political allegiances

The right to vote on the issues would ensure a proper balance, by allowing everyone to take part in decision-making.

If the House of Commons represented the people's membership of political parties, just 14 Members of Parliament would belong to a party!

For more information on the Direct Votes campaign, please send me an e-mail:-

Jim Mcglynn
Direct Votes
The right to vote.....on the issues

Revised September 2009