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Is the UK political hurricane over Brexit likely to blow itself out, can Westminster politics stop the carnage, or does it require a different sort of intervention to limit the damage? After the drama of ministerial walkouts and a backlash against Theresa May's proposed withdrawal deal, we have two compelling arguments to shed light on the benighted chaos.

Camilla Cavendish, in her regular Saturday column, argues that the UK prime minister's most admired quality — her determination and resilience — could be what ruins the nation, if she sticks to defending her deal no matter the objections. It is not enough, she writes, to rely on fear of no deal to secure backing for a flawed blueprint. Mrs May must change course: “Someone needs to level with Brussels and explain that there can be no parliamentary support without, at the very least, proper clarity on the future relationship.” 

Gordon Brown, former Labour prime minister, lays out an alternative plan. To get away from yet more partisan political bickering, he suggests a thorough listening exercise to explore new solutions to the problems which drove the vote to leave the EU. “The deadlock in parliament seems unlikely to be broken by MPs alone,” he writes. “We cannot reunite a divided country without breaking from the short-termism of current approaches, getting out of the Westminster bubble and listening to the country in a sustained way.”

This week's Person In The News is Susanna Dinnage, the woman chosen to head up the football Premier League, profiled by Murad Ahmed. This “elite brotherhood” is about to have as their chief executive “the most powerful female executive in global sport.”

Brooke Masters, Opinion & Analysis Editor, adds: We are so pleased that three of our columnists were recognised at this week's 2018 Comment Awardssponsored by Editorial Intelligence. Tim Harford was named Science & Data Commentator of the Year, Sarah O'Connor won Business Commentator of the Year and Miranda Green took home the prize for Culture, Diary and Social Commentator of the Year

Best of the week

Big companies are pushing governments around— Sarah O'Connor

EU could balk at giving the UK more time— Wolfgang Munchau

May’s terrible deal has united the UK in horror— Martin Wolf

The scandal of Goldman’s secret agent— John Gapper

MPs should reject a rotten Brexit deal— Philip Stephens

Brexit leaves Tories no longer looking like party of government— Robert Shrimsley

Redefining the kilo is a weighty moment— Anjana Ahuja

What you've been saying

Democrats, spend your political capital wisely: letter from Niels Erich, San Francisco, CA, US

Janan Ganesh is right that Democrats must be careful not to overplay their hand, having taken control of the US House of Representatives in recent elections. But that should not be construed as an argument for timidity. The new House majority should spend its political capital judiciously, choose its battles strategically, and proceed quietly without grandstanding. It should focus where it can on building longer-term, solid bipartisan majorities in policy areas such as infrastructure or healthcare, restoring regular order, and once again governing.

In response to “Parliament should reject Theresa May’s rotten Brexit deal”, Just A Thought says:

The problem with Mr Stephens’s recommendation is that Parliament, whose authority Brexit was supposed to enhance, has shown itself to be utterly feeble. The number of MPs who have shown courage and spoken the truth to power could be counted on a single hand. Ken Clarke is the only one to do so with any charm.

Index picking is just as hard as stock picking: letter from Elly Lawther, Limpsfield, Surrey, UK

I read with interest your report on the proliferation of market indices ( “Flurry of new social benchmarks sees market-tracking indices swell to 3.7m”). With all these indices to choose from, index picking seems just as tricky as stock picking. Would the index industry kindly construct an index of indices so that I might monitor my performance?

Today's opinion

Lex: Facebook: Sheryl the Peril
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The FT View: Preventing moral hazard in Britain’s universities
Students must be protected if higher education providers go bust

The FT View: Transatlantic relations take an indecorous turn
Trump misses a chance to stand tall in Europe and appears small

Lex: Brexit/UK stocks: defensives redefined
When running for cover be sure your shelter is sound

Lex: Conglomerates/ABB: Wotan opportunity
Unwieldy industrial groups are acknowledging the need to be nimble

Lex: Vegans vs vehicles: 50 shades of green
Chewing over the best way to battle climate change

To calm the Brexit storm, we must listen to the UK’s views again
Examining the issues behind the vote will move the debate away from political bickering

Why the real power in America is in the suburbs
US suburbia is a fine achievement, or at least finer than its portrayals in national culture allow

Inside Business: A simpler JPMorgan forces its way into Warren Buffett’s portfolio
The US lender has evolved to become less complex and more in the Sage of Omaha’s ballpark

Theresa May must change course on her deal to leave the bloc
Parliamentary support for the prime minister’s agreement requires a more detailed political declaration

Inside London: UK banks boast strength, but markets think otherwise
Multitude of offers to borrowers reflects the desperate state of the mortgage sector

On Wall Street: Market turbulence poses Wall Street dealmakers a tricky question
Volatility in stocks has hit the ambitions of public companies but helped private equity firms

FT Magazine: The highs and lows of bringing up a bonsai
‘Like teenagers, these trees rarely rise before noon and are prone to lengthy bouts of inactivity’

FT Alphaville: Markets Live: Friday, 16th November 2018

FT Magazine: Jancis Robinson: the bargains beyond Burgundy
‘If we were prepared to seek alternative sources of fine Pinot Noir, we might all save a lot of money’

Chanticleer Garden gives an appetite for colchicums
A display like that in Philadelphia is a feast for the eyes — and for squirrels too

American TV explains the bigger picture
Fox is the hearth around which Americans gather to watch their country go up in flames

Free Lunch: Governments are right to get tough on multinational company taxation
There is a need to act unilaterally so the best does not become the enemy of the good

Another spoonful of nostalgia? No thanks
Mary Poppins is back. But do we need her? From film to fashion, we should be looking to the future, not ransacking the archives

FT View

The FT View: Preventing moral hazard in Britain’s universities
Students must be protected if higher education providers go bust

The FT View: Transatlantic relations take an indecorous turn
Trump misses a chance to stand tall in Europe and appears small

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