ARENA Tuesday Seminar: Matt Qvortrup

At the extended ARENA Tuesday Seminar on 9 October 2018, Professor Matt Qvortrup will give an account of the EU-related referendums, including the Brexit referendum, 'Two hundred years of referendums'.


British Constitutional theorist A.V. Dicey spoke of the referendum as a mechanism ‘which by delaying alterations in the constitution, protect the sovereignty of the people’. The evidence,  There suggests the referendum has been used in a way that is consistent with this ideal. The many Irish constitutional referendums in recent years, the Italian vote on Mateo Renzi’s ill-fated constitution in 2016 and, before that, the Scottish vote on independence were all examples of how the people were able to veto ‘alterations in the constitution’ This is noteworthy, from a democratic theory point of. To paraphrase (and reverse) Runciman’s critical view of the referendum,  the referendum ‘looks democratic’ and it is”. Referendums have not been a panacea but they have - in most cases - been able to block the enactment of ill-considered and radical legislation. The referendum is - for better or for worse - a small-c conservative institution.

Download the paper (restricted access)

The paper will be available for download one week before the seminar.

Published Aug. 16, 2018 9:02 AM - Last modified Aug. 28, 2018 2:14 PM