FOR the Tory Prime Minister, her delusional right wing, and the dangerous fanatics driving Brexit, 2017 was a year in which the worst excesses of a broken government started to dismantle Britain’s reputation abroad, destroy the integrity and credibility of British politics and bitterly divide Britain as the madness of Brexit started to unravel.

The new year provides an opportunity to reflect on this Tory “annus horribilis” and renew our campaign to derail Brexit, end this collective act of national self-harm, and as a minimum position keep Britain in the single market and the customs union. Labour is key to delivering a new policy on the EU. It is by history and experience an internationalist party, a pro-European party, a party of partnership and cooperation, and a party committed to fighting economic nationalism, isolationism, racism, xenophobia, and authoritarianism. The party needs to rethink its position and withdraw its support for Brexit.

There are dangers ahead. British people must resist the invitation from the Tories to believe that Brexit is a done deal, that history is moving in one direction, that resistance to this madness is unpatriotic, and that leaders of Remain, are in some way treacherous and contemptuous of working people and Leave voters. Theresa May is asking us to give up the struggle against Brexit and rally around the flag! This strategy is designed to confuse, deceive, and distract. Brexit is unravelling, and desperation is taking over.

READ MORE: 'Brexit re-opens the Scottish question' says Henry McLeish

The Prime Minister no longer puts the interests of the people before the ambitions of the right-wing zealots in her party. In his book On Tyranny, Timothy Snyder describes this approach as the “politics of inevitability”, where the intention is to exclude from the minds of people any notion that Brexit isn’t going to happen and that there is no alternative to Brexit.

Using the same psychological warfare, this was the Thatcher strapline in the 1980s, TINA! (there is no alternative). There was never a case for Brexit but now even the Brexiteers’ cause is crumbling as panic sets in and the prospect of Britain still being in the single market and the customs union and the Tories being out of office, is daily, staring May in the face. Hard Brexit now looks foolish, menacing, and irresponsible. The public are being taken for fools.

Understandably, the Brexit debate has focused on trade, virtually to the exclusion of other important issues. But there are wider strategic, international and security issues that should have been integral to this debate. Britain is now a middling country on the world stage. Our post-war history suggests this is not the time to turn our back on Europe, to pursue an isolationist foreign policy or to seek a more intensified Anglosphere with the USA.

The unpredictability of Trump and the Republican Party – and their hostility to the EU – the imperialist ambitions of Russia, the growing strength of China and the tensions in the Middle East and Africa only serve to strengthen the case for a stronger EU with Britain working with our European allies to secure greater global security and solidarity.

Britain needs to remain part of progressive EU debates dealing with climate change, migration, terrorism, renewable energy, inequality, and economic growth. Instead we are distracted, and sidelined by Brexit and for how many years to come?

May has forfeited any right to speak for Britain. Europe is our future. Jeremy Corbyn must accept this and position Labour as the party of the single market and the customs union, which leaves us able to keep our relationship with the EU fluid and flexible.

The economy, employee protection, social rights, trade union rights and jobs are vital to winning over public opinion. Corbyn may have understandable concerns over the number of Labour voters who voted Brexit in the North of England. Their plight, however, must be viewed against the background of the fact the EU referendum had very little to do with Europe but was about the long-term decline of Britain, the unfair impact of Tory austerity, the deliberate exploitation of sentiment and nostalgia, and the delusional and extreme ideological views of the cheap patriots of Ukip and the right wing of the Tory party. They talk about love of country but do everything to destroy it.

The disconnected, the politically disillusioned, the left-behinds or the just about managing, will, like those who voted for Trump, gain nothing and suffer most. Trumpism and Brexism illustrate the ultimate contempt for working people. This is a challenge for Corbyn, but it also represents a separate set of problems that require a radical and progressive platform of economic and social measures that address the issues that mark the decline of Britain, the unequal distribution of economic benefits and the rise in inequality – a decline that will be massively and negatively impacted on by leaving the EU. Corbyn must distance himself from some on the far left who seek to mirror the extreme views of the Tory right by imagining a fortress Britain with a siege mentality economy, able to pursue socialism without the controls of the EU, the austerity of globalisation and the capitalist club they believe the European Council to be.

Westminster MPs, the trades unions, the Labour Party, other political parties, the pro-Europe Tory MPs, a majority, of British people, and the bulk of business and industry interests must be mobilised as a coalition of the willing, inspired to remain close to the EU, retaining membership of single market and the customs union and destroying any idea of a hard Brexit. This is a battle for Britain that can be won.

For Jeremy Corbyn, the spoils of victory could be significant. Defeat for the Tories on an issue of such importance, will hasten a General Election and enhance the prospects of a Labour Government or a coalition government.

The politics of 2018 will be significant for other, deeper reasons. Britain is awash with evidence that it has lost any real sense of purpose and commitment to anything that would restore credibility, solidarity, pride and heal some of the divisions that are now obvious and increasingly dangerous. There is no vision, no ideas for a different future, no antidote to all-embracing materialism, delusional thinking, exceptionalism, and an intensifying selfishness which dominates modern society. This raises questions.

What is the point of a Britain that has simply lost its way? Is any party or government at Westminster capable of imagining a different Britain? What then should Scotland think about a Britain, that is drifting away from sense and sensibilities, has no respect for difference, and refuses to acknowledge the idea of real or effective power being exercised by any of the nations that make up the UK?

Time is running out for Westminster to take seriously Scotland’s growing impatience and the fact that Scots could vote for a different future. Brexit is overshadowing everything, but this will change. There is every prospect that the Scotland question will be reignited, but this time the debate will not just be about nationality, identity, and history, but will embrace the state of Britain, its apparent ungovernability, its broken politics, incompetent government and a Britain where constitutional principles and an effective democracy are sacrificed on the altar of outdated institutions, 19th-century attitudes and tribal politics.

These issues go much deeper than ideas of right and left or public and private or state and market. Instead they address the fundamental issues of what kind of society do we want to live in, how is this to be achieved and what kind of politics can create, shape and sustain a more informed, enlightened and a fairer nation?

For Scotland what is the right thing to do? Is a radical constitutional shake up of Britain a serious option or is an independent Scotland now a more realistic alternative. Do we envision a society more like the Nordic countries, less like the USA, more modern, less like the 19th century, more about the common good, less about greed and looking the other way, and more about cooperation and coalitions and less first past the post and majority government?

These comparisons are endless and should seriously worry those who believe Scotland will remain a compliant and minor part of a failing Britain. This is also a wake-up call to those who are complacent about the collapse of constitutional credibility in Britain. Identity may no longer be the most important factor or the driving force shaping the politics of Scotland. Instead we have a crisis of identity in Britain which runs much deeper than the rejection of the EU.

Scotland voted to remain. This should never be overlooked as the Tories brush aside the legitimate concerns of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. There are powerful democratic arguments to justify continuing opposition to Brexit. But again, the Labour Party must be less nuanced in its approach, more honest in laying bare the state of Britain and much more direct in its presentation.

The language of Labour politics must deal with the fact that the right-wing press is protecting the Government, masking the Tory crisis, and promoting the demonisation of the EU. Forget the looming crisis of Brexit and concentrate on the World Cup in Russia, the royal wedding and, of course, enjoy your new blue passports. Is this just bread and circuses or is the title of Robert Peston’s new book more appropriate, “WTF” (is happening to Britain)! My comment in parenthesis.

Marx once famously said: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” These sentiments capture the Tory approach to Brexit.

Sorry. I should have said this was Groucho, not Karl.