IN a recent scathing article in the New York Times, the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson was lambasted for his “casual dishonesty” in pursuit of a spurious Brexit dream that will surely ruin Britain in the long term.

Journalist Jenni Russell really hit the nail on the head with her use of two words. It’s this “casual dishonesty” that so perfectly describes the Johnson band of Brexiteers in the Tory party – their overall economy with the actualité, or the truth as we lesser mortals term it, their outrageous claims, their pandering to people’s unfounded worries and their stoking of prejudice and fear that has led the UK by the hand into one of the biggest crises in living memory.

We’re now aware that Theresa May’s Cabinet is full of ministers from the former Vote Leave campaign, Johnson included, a group which was cavalier with the facts, careless with legal definitions and electoral law, and indifferent to calls for a sane and measured debate in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum. As the evidence rolls forth on the Vote Leave campaign’s suspect methods and even more dodgy alliances, their use of dark ads, microtargeted for maximum effect, featuring a catalogue of falsehoods on border issues and immigration, it’s clear the group’s intention was to stir up racial discontent and fear of the “other” in order to persuade people to vote to exit the EU. It’s also clear that they obviously thought that they were going to get away with it, or that bending convention and flauting out-dated laws doesn’t matter as long as you get the result you want.

Johnson of course gave his inner “raison d’etre” away when he praised Trump and suggested he’d do a better hardman job of leaving the EU than BJ’s own boss and Prime Minister, Theresa May. Johnson knows that Trump would have used his usual modus operandi of spreading outrageous untruths and doubts on the EU, attempting to bully and barter them into a corner on the final deal. Forget diplomacy and fair-minded negotiation – as far as the former foreign secretary is concerned, that’s an okay way to behave. Let’s not worry about the casualty rate in the perfomance of “Oh What a Lovely Brexit”.

However, despite Johnson’s enthusiasm for going it alone, it would seem that it’s less of a Brexit-unicorn and more of a Brexit-snake – beyond the glittering rainbow hides a far more sleekit creature. The UK Government are apparently covering up details on their preparations for a no-deal outcome for fear of panic and growing support to reverse Brexit. As our PM tries to maintain a measured disposition while talking of stockpiling food and medicine in the event of crashing out of the EU, we’re now in no doubt on the seriousness of being sold down the river by these phoney Brexit ideals.

It all ties into the global crisis on misinformation and sleight of hand. We’re slowly discovering that we’ve been manipulated for years as data is collected on our every move, like and dislike on social media and the internet, but examples of misrepresentation and fake claims are not just confined to the virtual world. Open your eyes and you can see them throughout every day political discourse, particularly in Scotland where the narrative is twisted on a daily basis. Nor can we rely on Auntie BBC and an independent press to safeguard real news. In Scotland the mainstream media are part of the problem in their reporting of absurdity as if it were argument.

A classic example of this was the reception given to the Tories on the important issue of fruit left to rot in our fields this summer, blaming the Scottish Government when in truth, it is the direct result of their UK Tory party’s hostile environment on immigration and EU nationals leaving the UK in their droves due to fears over Brexit causing a labour shortage. What a different position we’d be in if the Scottish Government had devolved power over immigration. And what a different position we’d be in if Westminster had recognised Scotland’s democratic vote to stay in the EU in the first place and avoid the UK Government’s catastrophic Brexit ideal.

It’s the same with the Scottish Tory obsession with blaming Holyrood for issues with broadband and telecommunications, both reserved to Westminster with only a small measure of control over funding from Scotland. Or “borrowing” policies from other parties and pretending that they are their own original ideas such as the recent launch of the Scottish Conservatives’ pharmacies plan which looks rather like the SNP’s current policy of increasing access to pharmacies and training pharmacists in clinical skills.

And, of course, the biggest lie of all surrounds the devolution power grab. This week’s cross-party Commons report from the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee is critical of Westminster’s failure to adequately consult with the devolved governments in advance of the publication of the EU Withdrawal Bill, even suggesting that David Mundell and his Scottish Office should be scrapped. There’ll be no argument from us on that. Fluffy is the first Cabinet minister in history to be past his sell-by date before his appointment.

Although this report confirms all our worst fears, none of this should be news to the Scots. Lord Keen’s description of the limitations of devolution in his submissions to the Supreme Court last week on the Scottish Parliament’s EU Continuity Bill reveal all that Scots need to know on Westminster’s attitude to Holyrood. Patronising and undermining every step of the way, twisting terms to suit their ideology, with little care for the sovereign wishes of the Scottish people and the MSPs chosen to represent us.

Now we’re in no doubt that certain Brexiteers took short cuts on facts, conjured figures from mid-air, and turned a blind eye to shady campaign strategies, how much longer are we willing to let these pedlars of deception and bogus hope dominate our political discourse? Their “casual dishonesty” has taken us all to the brink of disaster but it’s not too late to turn back. Scotland has other options and the ability to create a new reality.