FOR all the problems that Brexit has coughed up, few are new.

It has served to draw out the festering puss of Britain’s already open wounds; while contaminating previously unblemished areas with its infectious ooze.

The rise in racially and religiously motivated hate-crimes cannot be explained away as a new phenomenon. Brexit didn’t create xenophobes – rather the coarsening of our public discourse and the irresponsibility of our politicians has allowed hate to move out of the shadows and become mainstream.

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Neither is tribalism in politics a by-product of the toxic Brexit debate. For as long as there is democracy there will be division.

It just so happens that this torturous process of untangling ourselves from the European Union has coincided with a point in time where we are cursed with a useless Prime Minister and an utterly glaikit leader of the opposition.

It has brought niche political glitches to the attention of the public – not least Westminster’s archaic conventions and procedures and the skewed balance of power between the executive and the House of Commons.

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In attempting to redress that imbalance, Speaker Bercow has faced heavy criticism. Granted, he is pompous. His performance in the Chair is often peppered with self-indulgence and ill-tempered outbursts. He rubs people up the wrong way and none more so than the hard-line Brexiteers in the Conservative party.

We learned this week that some have demonstrated their frustration at his apparent “Brexit bias’’ by referring to him as the “Remainer Speaker". Burn baby, burn.

The Government is also said to be planning to seek retribution for his unhelpful meddling in the most upper-class and privileged way imaginable – by breaking with convention to deny him a seat in the House of Lords. “ You may have this hefty pension, but you shall never be a most noble Lord. In your face, Bercow!’’

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For the last few months, Sky News have been displaying a countdown clock to exit day. It conjures up unhelpful images of a ticking time-bomb in a movie where Theresa May is responsible for cutting the correct wire but refuses to listen to advisors on which one would save us all from certain death.

I am beginning to wonder whether May and her Government have checked the calendar recently. They seem to have plenty of time to waste on pointless plots and meaningless talks.

This is where the Brexit infection has spread; we are being led by ineffectual ditherers.

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What happened to that British ability to make love and a cup of tea all during the short Coronation Street ad-break? The Britain where royals can produce heirs with such efficiency that another rich baby is conceived and born before we can learn its older sibling’s name? I’m a chronic procrastinator, so I can empathise – but my avoidance tactics only result in a few emails going unanswered – not blood and medicine shortages.

We are being led into a Brexit abyss by schemers and time-wasters. The Prime Minister – who is responsible for getting everybody’s arse in gear and shouting “We’re going to be late!’’ – is faffing around, making late-night speeches outside Downing Street to announce that nothing has changed.

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Whenever my daughter declares she’s going to start “one wee jigsaw’’ minutes before we are due to leave for nursery, I warn her that if we don’t get there on time then one of her friends might eat all the cereal.

There’s a lesson there for our dawdling politicians. If we run out of time to find a solution to the current parliamentary impasse, then we crash out with no deal and there will be no cereal. Or vegetables. Or hope.

It’s a small mercy that the British are supposedly good at queuing because disorder at the army’s ration-pack pick-up points would be intolerable.

The contenders for Theresa May’s job have gotten in on the act, using this time of national crisis to apply for a job that hasn’t even been advertised yet. In our wide-eyed naivete, we might have expected these Vote Leave stalwarts to roll up their sleeves and help clear up the mess their broken promises have created. Sadly not.

On Friday Boris Johnson delivered a Brexit speech to shore up support for his inevitable leadership bid. Amidst all the political chaos, Johnson has spent his time studying a Latin dictionary to make his intervention sound a lot cleverer than he is.

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Michael Gove delivered a “blistering’’ and “powerhouse’’ speech in the no confidence debate on Wednesday, where he expressed contempt for Jeremy Corbyn and support for the Prime Minister he was brazenly auditioning to replace.

We have to wonder whether the many hours spent rehearsing that speech in front of his bedroom mirror wouldn’t have been better channelled elsewhere.

We are told there is method in this Brexiteer madness: that the Government are running down the clock in the hope that the threat of no deal will convince MPs to back May’s deal. That is certainly more plausible than the rumours of an as-yet unearthed but fully formulated Plan B.

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Brinkmanship may be effective in the hands of another Prime Minister – one that we could be confident wasn’t an alien sent to Earth to study and learn human behaviours – but not Theresa May.

Under her stewardship such a high-risk political strategy feels like a disaster waiting to happen. It is entirely possible that we could find ourselves in a no-deal situation not by intention, but by accident.

The question people in Scotland will ask themselves is: “Is this the best we can do?’’

For the United Kingdom, time may have finally run out.