The Theresa May government is disintegrating. It has staggered on, but it is not in power and everyone expects that it will soon not be in office.
And this week it got worse for May.
On Monday MPs voted by 329 to 302 to hold votes on a range of alternatives to May’s Brexit withdrawal deal. This was passed because 30 Tories voted against the government—including eight former cabinet ministers.
May had been forced to abandon her plans to hold a third “meaningful vote” on her twice-failed Brexit deal, at least for a few days.
She knew it would lose because of continuing resistance from sections of Tories and the bigots of the Democratic Unionist Party.
The debates and votes on Wednesday this week were expected to cover a range of “Plan B” proposals.
They could include a second referendum, no deal, and schemes that accept more of the European Union’s (EU) rules.
Monday’s vote was widely described as MPs “taking control”. If true, this is an interesting confirmation that most of the time it’s not our elected MPs who even claim to run the country.
It is by no means certain that there is a majority for any of the Brexit options.
And in any case, May has already said she is prepared to ignore MPs’ votes. She warned the Commons, “I cannot commit the government to delivering the outcome of any votes held by this House.”
The political crisis of May, the government and the entire political system continues.
Even cabinet ministers have said that, if the Brexit impasse continues, they might be forced into a general election.
It was a time of desperate negotiations for May last week. The EU agreed with her that Brexit day, which had been Friday of this week, will be extended only to 12 April if MPs don’t accept the government’s deal.
Another frenzied search for a solution approaches.
Two ruling class gangs are slugging it out.
Tories Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith and Jacob Rees-Mogg are in a reactionary alliance. They apparently call themselves “the grand wizards”—the name of the leaders of the racist Ku Klux Klan.
Their opponents who want to stop Brexit are pawns of big business. Neither group stands for ordinary people.
This should be a time for bold moves by Labour.
Yet it is reduced to backing a pro-business version of Brexit, or a second referendum.
Labour has disastrously separated Brexit from defence of the NHS, a reversal of privatisation, emergency action over housing and many other measures that could change the whole debate.
There has rarely been a weaker government. The outcome ought not to be consensus to try to repair the shattered neoliberal centre ground.
It should be the removal of May and all the Tories—and an anti-austerity and anti-racist Brexit.