The use of a referendum in such high-profile ways, however, also suggests that governments must continue to examine and re-examine what it means to engage the public effectively--before a matter reaches the ballot. Are governments enabling those affected by decisions to affect those decisions, without ballots?
The EU referendum will be one of the most significant decisions British citizens will ever have to make. The outcome will affect how the UK is governed, national security, the economy, human rights, the environment, culture... every aspect of our lives. It will define what it means to be British and could alter this country's relationship with the world for generations to come.