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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's recent call for voters to think again about leaving the European Union, echoed in parliamentary debates ahead of the government's official launch of the process in March, is an Emperor's New Clothes moment.Six months before the referendum, the EU did not even appear among the 10 most important issues facing Britain as mentioned by potential voters.This means challenging the idea that a referendum permanently outweighs all other mechanisms of democratic politics and persuading voters that a referendum mandate refers to a specific question in specific conditions, at a specific time.The goal would be to prevent any new relationship between Britain and the EU from taking effect unless approved by a parliamentary vote that allowed for the possibility of continuing EU membership.More important, it would legitimize a new political debate in Britain about the true costs and benefits of EU membership, possibly leading to a second referendum on the government's Brexit plans.
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