Direct Democracy

December 1st, 2009 at 9:29 am by David Farrar

This story from Switzerland is a prime example of why direct democracy, rather than representative democracy, can be a bad idea.

Switzerland became the first country in Europe today to vote to curb the religious practices of Muslims when a referendum banning the construction of minarets on mosques was backed by a solid majority.

The surprise result, banning minarets in a country that has only four mosques with minarets and no major problems with Islamist militancy, stunned the Swiss establishment …

This is simply a horrendous decision. Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right, and should not be at the whim of referenda.

The campaign to ban minarets was described by the country’s justice minister as a “proxy war” for drumming up conflict between ethnic Swiss and Muslim immigrants. But the ban was supported by a majority of 57.5%, 20 percentage points more than predicted in opinion polls in the run-up to the vote.

This is interesting in that many back the ban, but did not want to admit to it. The advantage of parliamentary votes is they are public and people have to stand by their vote.

There are problems in Europe with Islamic extremism and non-integration. But the solution is not to ban minarets on mosques, targeting an entire religion.

$100 a marcher

November 22nd, 2009 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Between 4000 and 5000 people marched through central Auckland this afternoon, urging the Government to act on referenda.

That can only be called a very disappointing turnout for the organisers, considering the target was 50,000 and the amount spent was $300,000 to $450,000 on promoting it.

Maybe they would have done better if they had followed the Manners Mall campaigners and just hired students through Student Job Search 🙂

Protesters also waved placards aimed at the Prime Minister, some reading “JK listen to me” and “JFK, John Fuhrer Key”.

Rather early to be comparing John to Hitler I would say.

Other slogans included “Brian smacks his 700 sons” and “Hit me baby one more time”.

Heh now that is funny.

Singer Yulia said her childhood under a totalitarian regime in Russia made her appreciate the freedom a democracy offered.

“I love democracy and I want it to stay,” she said.

I don’t think there are plans to abolish it until after the Reichstag gets burnt down!

Do Not Vote campaign

April 30th, 2008 at 12:16 pm by David Farrar

On Monday a group called Better Democracy NZ launched a Do Not Vote website.

They support binding referenda as opposed to the “elective dictatorship” known as representative democracy.

Pretty stupid idea. I am strongly against binding referenda, but if they really think people want them, why don’t they get 300,000 signatures for an indicative referendum on having binding referenda. Or set up their own party.

On a practical level, it is impossible to have binding referenda without a written constitution. I support a written constitution incidentally, and would view a constitution and significant amendments to it as something that should be done by referendum. But not day to day law making.