Gleichheit für alle (engl.)

Q But why set up a new group when you could just as easily campaign from inside one of the political parties?

A Because the leaders of the political parties are deeply opposed to direct democracy. After all, nobody likes having some of their powers taken away.

Q All right, but what are the advantages of Direct Democracy anyway?

A Many! For a start, it means that voters are not just restricted to voting for a party manifesto once every four years or so, even when they disagree with many of the policies contained in it. Under Direct Democracy we will be able to vote for those policies we actually agree with, but against the ones we think are wrong. It means that politicians will not be able to get away with policies that the voters at large don't want. It means that voters themselves will be able to raise issues that the politicians are avoiding. It means…

Q Hold on, are you saying that it won't just be the government who could call referendums?

A Yes! Under Direct Democracy anybody can call a referendum, be they government or just an agreed percentage of the electorate signing a petition detailing the question to be asked. There is no reason why writing the question should always be in the hands of the politicians.

Q Doesn't all this mean an awful lot of voting all the time?

A Not really! In Switzerland the government deals with all the legislative details then puts the big questions to the voters to decide on, along with any issues which the voters themselves have raised. Voters vote up to four times a year, and in the future that will probably be done electronically from home, rather than having to traipse to the polling station every time.

Q So you're saying that Direct Democracy exists in Switzerland already?

A Yes, they've had it for nearly a hundred and fifty years now, and it not only works nationally, but they use it at county and local levels as well. The Swiss people really are in control of their government and local councils, not the other way round. The people vote on economic and social issues, on the constitution, foreign affairs, health, the environment, and also all the issues that crop up at the local level right down to planning applications.