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How Labour can resolve the Brexit crisis – and tear down the Tories too

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Consider this scenario. The Brexit national crisis is resolved on terms that protect the economy and hard-won workers’ rights. The national conversation moves on to the NHS (remember that?), child poverty and housing. Another referendum, more poisonous and bitter than the last, and one which could easily be won by leave all over again, – polling currently shows more people would prefer to leave without a deal than to stay in the EU outside of London and Scotland – is avoided. A transformative government comes to power which rips up a four-decade-old market fundamentalist experiment that has been an endless generator of insecurity and social turmoil. The Conservative party – which, for entirely partisan ends, has brought chaos and humiliation to Britain – is torn asunder, ejected from office for a generation.

This could be the prize if Labour agreed a deal with the Tories that forced Theresa May to reject her party’s red lines. There are the obvious pitfalls to be navigated: May using the talks to run down the clock, or to displace responsibility for a national calamity of the Conservatives’ own making to Labour, or to provide a pretext for a long extension which torments the Brexiteers. Every promise would have to be written in legislation and passed by the House of Commons, or be simply tossed on a bonfire by May’s hard right successor. Labour agreeing to any deal with May will cause a paroxysm of fury from those remainers who – understandably anguished by this wretched mess – will be satisfied by no less than another referendum.

But if Brexit means a customs union, close alignment to the single market, and legally binding........

© The Guardian