A crisis has struck at the heart of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government and the Tories.

MPs were beginning a five-day debate on the government’s proposed Brexit deal as we went to press. It is likely to be defeated in a vote on 11 December.

May has met MPs in small groups in an effort to persuade them to back her deal, but without success. Some analysts predict May will lose by 200 votes—or even 400—in the House of Commons. The bigots of the Democratic Unionist Party that sustain the government have deserted it, and almost 100 Tory MPs have declared they won’t back the deal.

It’s hard to see how May could survive such a shattering defeat, although she has struggled on in the past. She hopes that predictions of economic devastation if there is not a deal might panic enough MPs into eventually accepting her plan.

A Bank of England report said that, in the worst case scenario, unemployment could double and inflation rise to 6.5 per cent.

The most likely result is that May loses and Labour moves a vote of no confidence in the government.

But most people don’t think it will win. Instead Labour is increasingly moving towards arguing for a second referendum on Brexit as the “realistic” option.

What’s utterly missing from all the debates is the interests and intervention of ordinary people.

May’s deal preserves European Union (EU) regulations to protect big business and limit nationalisation, and it includes more anti-migrant laws. No socialist could support such a vision. Instead there should be active mobilisation to demand an anti-austerity and anti-racist Brexit deal.

And this has to be linked to demands such as to fund the NHS, raise wages and benefits, and fund education. For as long as the Brexit debate is about parliamentary manoeuvres, the Tories, if not May, have hopes of survival. Yet Labour and the unions have made no call to protest or demonstrate.

At a time of the greatest political crisis for decades, they mobilise nothing. The argument has to be removed from the dusty sphere of mainstream politics and taken to the streets and the workplaces.

By Charlie Kimber
Socialist Worker UK

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