Democracy on Demand: Holding Power to Account

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


The book finds, that referendums provide the voters with a veto. It is a mechanism for keeping politicians in check. The book also shows that countries with many referendums tend to be richer and more equal. Referendums can however degenerate into populism, with the device having been abused by demagogues and power-hungry politicians in democratic countries and by a large number of dictators. Referendums tend not to have positive effects for the economy and political culture if it is up to the politicians to decide when to hold them. Ultimately, the referendum needs to be a people’s shield – not the politician’s sword. In this day and age, democracy is susceptible to sinister influences from darker forces which abuse the process via the internet using a digital toolkit which includes the implementation of bots and algorithms. This arguably helped those who fought to take the United Kingdom out of the EU. As this book shows, other countries have successfully banned the abuse of on-line advertising, especially the Baltic countries.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages330
ISBN (Print)9781526158956
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Democracy
  • Referendums
  • Deliberative Democracy
  • Initiatives

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