There is lots that seems to me to be smart in this piece by Mervyn King, and a lot that seems to me to be not smart at all. The claim that a second referendum would not work because "it is no longer possible to confine the options, as in 2016, to a binary choice" is simply ludicrous: there was no "binary choice" on offer in 2016; there never was a "binary choice". Britain could seek a relationship like Norway's, like Switzerland's, like Ukraine's, like Turkey's, or like Korea's—or it could just confront the EU as a standard WTO member. The right path, IMHO, is to say that the first referendum result was corrupted by Boris Johnson's criminal or near-criminal misrepresentation and by the absence of a definition of "Brexit", and to rerun the referendum as a binary choice between remain on the one hand and the May plan on the other. And, indeed, Mervyn King's hope for a general election in which the "two main parties... [present] clear opposing positions on Brexit" would be that—if Labour would admit that it prefers remain, and if the Conservatives would get behind the May plan. But neither party will.
The May plan, with the backstop, deprives Britain of its voice in Brussels's decisions and in return gives Britain the power to kick Poles out of the country at will. That is what the Conservative membership wants—probably because what they really want is to kick the Pakistanis out, and gaining the theoretical power to kick Poles out has been sold to them by right-wing neo-fascist demagogues as a good substitute. But the right-wing neo-fascist demagogues objected to the May plan because it put Britain in the position of being a dependent supplicant relative to Brussels—like Canada is to the U.S. What they want is both the power to kick Poles out and the power to veto decisions being made in Brussels—and that is not on offer.
I suspect that what King really wishes—but cannot say, even to himself—is that he really wishes he and his ilk had all supported Blair and Brown rather than Cameron-Osborne-Clegg in 2010, and so had a governing party with competent technocrats who sought a better Britain rather than one populated entirely by grifters and spivs. But he ought to have checked those three dogs for fleas before he lay down with them:
Mervyn King: How Brexit Broke British Politics: "The test of any political system is how it copes with an issue that divides the nation.... There are two requirements for major change in Britain. The first is a public mandate. And the second is a working majority in the House of Commons to implement that mandate. In normal circumstances, a general election is the mechanism by which one party obtains both a public mandate and a majority of seats in the Commons.... In June 2015, the House of Commons voted for a referendum on EU membership.... Voters were told the choice was theirs, and they voted to leave. But there was no parliamentary majority to deliver Brexit, and no vision of what Brexit even meant.... The best way forward would be for the two main parties to develop clear opposing positions on Brexit, and put the disagreement to voters at another general election.... Why not a second referendum?... It is no longer possible to confine the options, as in 2016, to a binary choice on the fundamental issue—in or out...