The Swiss-born philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78) once suggested that the English people are only ‘free’ during elections. Referendums are ballots in which citizens are asked to give their views on specific policies. Referenduma mechanism allowing voters to choose between different options in a particular policy area. Eighteen years after the 1979 polls, a New Labour government made another attempt to secure approval for devolution. New Labour hoped to extend its devolution project to the English regions, proposing that assemblies should be established with limited powers and budgets. On 7 May 1998, London voters agreed in a referendum to hold elections for a directly elected mayor and a Greater London Authority. Councils sometimes hold local referendums on issues like the level of spending or development projects. The relatively recent increase in the use of referendums within the United Kingdom (UK) gives rise to interesting possibilities at a time of technological change.