October preview – things can only get bitter

With crunch decisions over Brexit and a potential Labour split ahead, it looks like things can only get bitter.

The Red Roar is quite proud of its prediction record. We told you that the Labour democracy review would be blunted by the unions, that antisemitism would dominate Jeremy Corbyn’s summer and that Leanne Wood was driftwood as far as the leadership of Plaid Cymru was concerned.

But looking at the big picture now it is harder than ever to see where things are going.

The global wave of dangerous and extreme populists is still rolling – this weekend Brazil may vote for a fascist as lead candidate for president (and if they don’t the voices openly calling for a military coup will grow louder and more insistent). But then again we might just be three weeks from the collapse of Trump’s political machine if the Democrats take the House and maybe even the Senate (but results will be very close in both cases).

In Britain Brexit looms over everything and it is more difficult than ever to predict an end game – with three options (a May compromise, a no deal crash out and a “People’s Vote”) all in realistic contention. The most shocking (politically, rather economically) outcome of all would, of course, be a new referendum but it is also the one that has the most momentum, even if the leaderships of Labour (and the SNP) are reluctant to endorse it outright.

But perhaps the most likely outcome is some version of no deal – even though most sensible people regard this as economically catastrophic. People who talk about civil unrest if a People’s Vote is granted seem curiously silent about what might happen if – as is a very real possibility – a post no-deal Britain, like 1917’s Petrograd, runs out of butter.

That comparison is, of course, why so many in Corbyn’s inner circle pray for that outcome in private while uttering public incantations against it.

And a split in the Labour Party? Ironically the mutual hatred of the ‘moderates’ and the leadership is kept in check by Brexit: both sides think they can force the other to bend to their will on this issue. The smart move by the leadership would be to endorse a People’s Vote to spike the moderate guns, but Team Corbyn is not often associated with smart moves.

So when Parliament returns next week things are much more likely to get bitter than better.

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