AFTER spending the past two and a half years studiously ignoring voters, all of a sudden Theresa wants to talk to us directly. It’s safe to say that Theresa May’s direct appeal to the public in the form of her open letter has gone down in Scotland like a bridie at a vegan wedding. And just like a bridie, there’s very little meat in Theresa’s letter. The fact that she wrote it at all was a desperate attempt to go over the heads of MPs, who barring some miracle – like Ross Thomson actually saying something sensible – seem certain to vote her deal down.

We now know that we’re getting the blind Brexit that no-one wanted. Far from having a clear idea of where Brexit is taking us, far from the sunny confident uplands of freebooting trade deals with the Empire 2.0, the UK is paying the EU £39 billion in order to have a worse deal than we currently have and to reduce the rights of UK citizens. The exit deal makes waffle and wishful thinking seem like a PhD thesis in clarity and logic. This is the British best of both worlds that Scotland was told it could have in 2014 if only we voted against independence.

All the way through the independence referendum in 2014 and the EU referendum in 2016, the Scotland Secretary David Mundell told us that leaving the EU would be a disaster for Scotland. Then England voted for to leave and all of a sudden he was telling us about all the great opportunities that Brexit would bring. Opportunities which amounted to a bucket of fish and nothing else. Now even the bucket of fish has vanished.

The line that David is currently touting is that it’s Theresa’s deal or it’s chaos. As if for the past two years the UK hasn’t made a burning cooncil tip seem like a beacon of carefully arranged order. Chaos is all that the UK has on offer. Remember when someone was urging Scotland to vote No in 2014 because we’d lose the safety and stability of the UK? That was David. David Mundell has not resigned yet.

Things are so bad for the Prime Minister that on Monday Alistair Carmichael got onto his feet in the House of Commons to lecture Theresa May about truthfulness, honesty, and integrity. That’s like JK Rowling lecturing Debbie McGhee about how it’s wrong to build a career on milking a small wizard.

Conservative MPs are angry that Theresa May’s deal means that the UK will be trapped in a backstop until the EU gives its permission for the UK to leave. Apparently this is unconscionable. This is unreasonable. This is intolerable. But it is exactly how those same Conservatives want to treat Scotland, to deny Scotland the right to hold another independence referendum until they give us permission. The difference is that Scotland doesn’t need the permission of Westminster to have another vote. Westminster just fantasises that it does. But it’s a perfect summary of the hypocrisy and wishful thinking that passes for governance in the UK.

Instead of trying to protect Scotland from the harm of Brexit, Labour in Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government to mitigate Conservative policies by cutting other parts of the Scottish budget. Labour wants the Scottish Government to mitigate welfare policies which Labour refused to allow to be devolved. That’s the same Labour party that campaigned alongside the Conservatives in 2014 in order to ensure that Scotland would continue to be harmed by Conservative policies. That’s the same Labour party that didn’t vote against the Tory policy in question when it passed through Westminster in 2015.

Richard Leonard keeps standing up in Holyrood to make some spurious wee point or other, only to have his backside handed to him by the First Minister as his party’s hypocrisy is pointed out. The only socialist thing about the Labour party in Scotland is that it’s always being publicly owned. The SNP’s job is to put out the fires that Westminster started. Labour’s job is to ensure that there’s a constant supply of fires.

Labour at a UK level is no better. There are press reports that Jeremy Corbyn has agreed to take part in a televised debate with Theresa May about Brexit, but only if there is no one representing the call for a second referendum. So much for the many not the few. Jeremy only wants to talk about domestic politics, not Brexit. Which kind of defeats the purpose of a debate about Brexit. Those of us of a more cynical persuasion might think that was his idea all along. After all, a debate between Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May about Brexit is going to be a Brexit debate between a Leaver pretending to be a Remainer and a Remainer pretending to be a Leaver. Truth and UK politics are not even on nodding terms.

There doesn’t seem to be a British route out of this calamitous mess. There is no apparent majority in the Commons for any path. The only possibilities for the UK are for the UK Government to plough ahead with Theresa’s deal, for the UK to fall out of the EU with no deal, for there to be an early General Election, or for the People’s Vote to succeed in forcing another referendum. None of these scenarios are going to solve the problem of Brexit.

Theresa’s deal or a no-deal Brexit both mean that we end up losing all the rights we currently enjoy as EU citizens and the economic and political hit that Brexit entails. A General Election just means, at best, replacing a Conservative government which doesn’t have a clue how to deal with Brexit with a Labour government which doesn’t have a clue how to deal with Brexit.

The so-called People’s Vote means at best that Brexit is halted, but at the cost of millions of angry Leave supporters feeling that they’ve been betrayed and most likely forcing the Conservatives and Ukip even further to the xenophobic extreme right than they currently are. The British nationalist exceptionalism which curses the UK will remain untamed and undaunted.

Scotland has only one safe route out of this mess, and that’s by voting for independence in another independence vote, whether that’s a referendum or a plebiscite election.

The time for that vote is the second that we can be certain that there will be no early Westminster General Election or no second EU referendum. If Scotland wants political stability and clarity, we won’t get it from the morally and intellectually bankrupt UK. We have to build it for ourselves.