Dammit, it’s happened again. Every time I want to post something intelligent about current affairs, a columnist writes up the same issue far more quickly and fluently than I ever could. The worst offender is Simon Jenkins. He writes like an angel, clearly works fast and I agree with almost everything he says. Now it’s Jonathan Freedland on the subject of the sovereignty of postmodern states.
“The UK has not somehow lost its sovereignty by being in the EU. Parliament can simply repeal the European Communities Act of 1972 and we’d be out. MPs could do it now without a referendum if they wanted. Such is the power of a sovereign nation.”
Can this be true? If it is, let’s think it through. It is surely the case that if David Cameron loses the referendum – that is, the Leavers win – then he would have to resign, or, if he doesn’t, be subjected to a vote of No Confidence in the House. The Conservatives being well and truly split on the Brexit issue, there is no guarantee that he would survive this. He or Osborne would have to go to the country.
That means a dissolution followed by a general election fought on the basis of this single issue. Labour would fight that election, on the case for staying in, by arranging a tactical single-issue coalition with the SNP (for a price) and picking up some Tory votes as well. If that coalition wins, the 1972 Act remains on the statute book and Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister. The Corn Laws all over again. Have I got this right?