Leader comment: Sleepwalking into Brexit oblivion

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Sadly, it is very difficult to disagree with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s analysis that the UK - once admired around the world - now presents a picture of division, intolerance and introversion.

The Labour Party veteran yesterday wrote that Brexit shows the UK has sacrificed common sense in order to pursue the dogmatic abandonment of its own best interests. The Scotsman believes Mr Brown to be entirely correct.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson campaigned for the UK to leave the EU on the promise that the process would be straightforward and the benefits great and bounteous. Only those in the most profound state of denial can still believe that.

Mr Brown warns that the UK is now sleepwalking into oblivion. This may be true of those who continue to believe the fairytales peddled by pro-Brexit politicians but those who are leading the charge for the UK to crash out of the EU, without even the mitigation of a deal, know precisely what they are doing.

Rather than sleepwalking, they are wide-eyed and energised. Those who have voted Labour in the past - indeed, anyone who believes in the value of a decent and thoughtful politics - may find it rather depressing that Mr Brown has had to fill the intellectual void on Brexit created by the current leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn.

It is Mr Corbyn who should be making the case against a No Deal Brexit but his career-long Euroscepticism and his lack of political acumen mean he is a completely ineffectual figure in this debate. In fact, he barely registers as a participant in these must turbulent of times.

In Mr Corbyn’s absence, Mr Brown warns that the ideals of an inclusive outward-looking Britishness could not survive the divisiveness and chaos of a no-deal Brexit and insists that No Deal Brexit must be stopped in its tracks.

However, even if the will to stop the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal exists in the House of Commons, they may be unable to act,

The Institute for Government warns that MPs may have limited opportunities to stop a No Deal scenario. It looks increasingly likely that the UK’s exit from the EU will be brutal and messy. The Scotsman believes this will represent a catastrophic act of recklessness on the part of the Prime Minister and his acolytes. And we are deeply concerned about what the ensuing chaos will mean for the future health of our democracy.