The referendum as a decision making tool is horribly flawed and this step allows true sober second thought to be brought to bear by both the leaders and the electorate. As observed, the whole process itself is an invitation to lie by the interest parties who are pushing their agenda. It certainly cannot be viewed as a valuable learning experience.
What has been forgotten in this sudden enthusiasm for referendums is that great issues are normally a compromise between several interest groups. You have a Gordium knot and the referendum is merely Alexander;s sword. It simply makes a mess and smashes the solutions entered into by all the contributing factions. In short it is stupid.
The best example of this folly would be Scotland exiting Great Britain. The entirety of Scotland's modern history and that of its peoples is its massive contribution to the wealth and creation of the British empire and its successors. Its prior history was utterly barbaric and similar to that of Afghanistan today. All its talent was focused on killing each other and not particularly on Nation building. The only true national identity was the Clan and it was the emergence of highland regiments under English officers that brewed up a united Scotland. It was the lack of internal unity that led to the unification act...
Throwing all that away on the whim of popular opinion is crazy and utterly self serving for the greedy few.
All such arrangements do have mechanisms in place to resolve imbalances. The true good that may well come out of Brixit is that these mechanisms get formally reformed. The reality is that the EU needs an effective parliament along with a party system that must carry twenty percent of the popular vote in two thirds of the countries involved. That stops true factionalism against one's neighbor.
Anti-Brexit Ruling Gives Surprise 'Victory for Parliamentary Democracy'