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    UK: More thoughts on the democratic deficit - BBH

    Research Team at BBH, suggests that it is not just that the polls indicate that the outcome of the UK referendum is too close to call, but the mere fact that the referendum is being held in the first place is significant.Key Quotes“Regardless of the outcome of today's referendum, the Tories are seriously wounded.  Perhaps its saving grace is that its main opposition, Labour, is itself in a troubled situation as its leader is further left than the party's base and large donors. In the UK, the elites are divided, but the European project itself is generally perceived as an elite effort, and one in which many people have become increasing skeptical.This first cut of the democratic deficit emphasizes immediate issues, like the high rates of unemployment, and the consequences of the fall of various Middle East regimes, and the civil war in Syria. A second cut of the democratic deficit emphasizes institutional issues. There is a third cut but is rarely discussed. It is about attitudes.  EC President Juncker has often expressed anti-democratic sentiment. In part, this could be a difference in the understanding of representative government. To be sure it is not just encroachment by officials, but there is also an abdication by many people.  Martin Wolf of the Financial Times suggested that many people are not sufficiently informed to make an educated decision about the intricacies of international trade policy and the cost/benefit of EU membership.  Regardless of the outcome of the UK referendum, addressing the democratic deficit in Europe is pressing.  The European project is made more vulnerable by the lack of deep democratic roots.  Information and access to it have increased.  Issues are complex.  Experts are available in various disciplines. Yet much rests not on objective facts that experts and technocrats can monitor, but on judgements which reflect values.”

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