Who put the Dum in the Referendum?


Responding requests for a follow-up to the popular and hugely successful 2016 EU-membership referendum there are uncertainties about whether there should be just one more referendum, or more.  There are also debates about whether any new referendum (or referendums) should offer a simple ‘yes / no’ option, or whether voters should be invited to choose between a range of options.

It has been suggested that we should have a preliminary referendum to decide the answers to these questions.  However controversy surrounds the question as to whether this preliminary referendum should ask how many more referendums voters wanted, or if, instead, it should ask whether voters wanted a referendum which just offered a simple yes/no choice, or one which offered them a choice between several options.

There are clearly two options here: ask both these questions at the same time, in one referendum, or to hold two separate referendums to address the two issues separately.  However those who are advocating holding separate referendums are divided over the issue as to which type of referendum – a multiple-choice vs. single choice, or just one referendum vs. several referendums – should be held first.

There is the possibility of holding a referendum to decide this, if enough voters want that, but there are uncertainties about how best to determine whether voters want such a referendum or not, or whether they would prefer an opportunity to say whether they wanted it very much, or only slightly, or were happy either way, or probably didn’t like the idea very much, or definitely didn’t want it all.  And whether they wanted transition period beforehand, and if so, of what duration.

But that is of course another question altogether.

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Posted: Aug 12th, 2019 by

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