The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Monday, August 16, 2004

binding citizen's initiated referenda

theme music: don't mess with mr inbetween

so i went to a public meeting tonight and there was a man there (in the audience) rabitting on and on about BCIR, as he fondly called them. ( he assumed that we all knew what he was talking about and didn't bother to explain the term.)

the strangest thing was not only was he his own worst enemy by alienating the crowd, he also fundamentally undermined his own cause by proving the worst point of BCIR, ie that those with the loudest voices can shout down the quieter ones, even though they have just as much to say.

what i mean is the danger of BCIR is for minorities or disadvantaged groups - as is evidenced by how long it took women to get the vote in Switzerland (the BCIR proponent just said that other European countries took a long time to give the vote to women too - oh that makes it alright then). the loudest voice (whether it be loudest by virtue of numbers or money) can shout down others, and ultimately oppress them. without a constitution or similar that would actively protect people's rights BCIRs are v dangerous indeed.


Idiot/Savant said...

The BCIR advocate's version of events can be seen here.

span said...

thanks I/S - interesting that he choses to recall the meeting as just a dialogue between himself and Cullen and ignores all the comments from the audience on his suggestions... really listening to the voters' voice there!

Steve Baron - Better Democracy NZ said...

Although these comments against BCIR (Binding Citizens Initiated Referendums) were posted some years ago I have only just come across them but just the same they need clarifying as others my see them in time to come. Although Switzerland might have been many years behind the rest of the world in giving women the vote may I point out that it was due to a BCIR that they did eventually get it but only after MPs refused to give women the vote. BCIR was also used in many US states to gain women the vote when elected representatives refused to. So to use this as an example to denigrade BCIR is rather mischevious or uninformed.

Steve Baron
Better Democracy NZ