WATCHING Question Time audiences and interviews with Brexiteers of all kinds I am reminded of Bertrand Russell’s observation that “the fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”

That Brexit is a nightmare shambles has apparently no effect on the consciousness of the cocksure Brexit enthusiasts, and that the Tories are staggeringly incompetent is now so self-evident that it is hardly worth commenting on. But what is now undeniably apparent is the calculated and quite deliberate cruelty of the Tories and their indifference to poverty and hardship; indeed they appear to take great pleasure in inflicting pain and humiliation on the most unfortunate members of our society, a classic symptom of the unintelligent bully and a demonstration that this government is staffed by people who are in fact quite stupid.

Complicit in the shambles of Brexit, the Labour Party are just as aimless and devoid of any leadership or competent policy programme at both national and regional level.

I would never have imagined that Scottish Labour could have produced a leader that would make Kezia appear competent and capable, but in Richard Leonard they have managed it. “Hapless” is as kind as I can think of to describe this unfortunate person.

It is very discouraging to consider the quality of the opposition in Scotland, who are quite prepared to sacrifice the interests of the Scottish electorate, who voted so decisively to remain, to the interests of a strident and xenophobic English nationalism that is quite indifferent to the fact that their entire justification for voting Leave was erected on a farrago of lies and propaganda.

The Scottish arms of the two major parties are failing to make even a token show of resistance to the dominant thrust of Brexit or an attempt to protect Scottish interests and the interests of the Parliament in Edinburgh, demonstrating that they are indeed Westminster’s poodles.

The cruelty and inhumanity of the Conservative Party has been shown by the stark empirical evidence presented by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Heriot-Watt University in their recent report, which concludes that the Tories have been implementing what they term “destitution by design”. This highlights that the core thrust of Tory social and economic policy is the quite deliberate impoverishment of large parts of the British population, and official Tory government policy is revealed as having the goal of quite deliberately reducing whole sections of the seventh-richest nation on earth to a state of destitution.

We should also reflect that since the Tories won in 2010 our press have been reporting on an almost daily basis a catalogue of cases of the inhuman treatment by the Tories and their lackeys in the civil service towards people on benefits, and particularly the disabled and immigrants. If we add into this witch’s brew their treatment of the Grenfell Tower victims and the recent Windrush scandal, we must ask the serious question of why any sane person would wish to continue to be part of the Westminster system of government?

This is the argument I would personally make in the debate on independence, highlighting the true nature of Westminster government: corrupt beyond redemption, unaccountable, divorced both from reality and from the people who elect it, but most importantly, how they hold the electorate in a towering contempt. We deserve better than that; we are better than that.

Peter Kerr