Iain Macwhirter

“TELL us,” asked Ed Milliband, on his first outing on BBC’s Question Time since he ceased being Labour leader, “which non-EU country would the UK be like post-Brexit?” The prominent pro-Leave Tory MP David Davis replied: “Great Britain.” The audience roared its approval. It was one of most telling exchanges in the EU referendum debate so far and must have sent a chill into David Cameron’s soul.

After weeks of battering voters senseless with statistics claiming that Britons would be materially worse off it they vote to leave Europe, here finally was the essence of the referendum issue: it is about national autonomy, about self-government. Just as in Scotland, nationalism remains the most divisive issue in politics – it’s just a different nation we’re talking about. Europe for many English Conservatives is an existential question. And for them, country comes before party.

Already the sense of betrayal runs deep. Also…

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