One phone call from Arlene Foster to the British Prime Minister Theresa May was enough to halt a deal between the European Union and British government, already agreed on Monday 4 December. Arlene Foster is the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland: a right-wing party with its roots in the anti-Catholicism of its former leader Ian Paisley. It is also pro-life, anti-gay and deeply reactionary.

On Monday 4 December, it was finally announced that a deal on phase one of the Brexit negotiations was about to be struck. The Financial Times lauded the Brexiteers' “surprising realism” in a negotiation described by one former head of the Treasury as more like a “drive-by shooting” than a negotiation.

Investment banking giant Morgan Stanley recently published a report that warned its clients about the possibility of a general election in 2018 and - in turn - of a Corbyn-led Labour victory. Such an outcome, the bankers described, would be a “worse threat to business than Brexit”.

British capitalism is clearly in a parlous state. The miserable spurt of growth of a few years ago has completely run out of steam, leaving the UK in a disastrous position. All the economic forecasts from the top institutions for the coming period have been downgraded from those of a year ago.

Richard Leonard, the left candidate for Scottish Labour leader, has won a close fought race to succeed Kezia Dugdale. His victory represents the most significant gain for the Left in its struggle to win control of the overall party since Corbyn’s victory itself.

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