"IT is not a serious proposal and presumably what they’re doing is simply trying to avoid a Deal to get to No-Deal.”

The words of Jonathan Powell who spent a decade as chief aide to prime minister Blair and was a key negotiator of the Good Friday Agreement for peace in Ireland on BBC Newsnight on Tuesday night. He was talking about the “Deal proposal” by the UK government to the European Union.

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Imposing a No Deal and therefore a hard border in Northern Ireland is exactly the opposite of what the UK said at the start of the negotiation. Powell concluded it was about a blame game so they can blame Brussels for the mess that is about to ensue.

The aim of government policy is No Deal, and as a result, sowing discord within Britain, between Britain and Europe and, most dangerously of all, within Ireland and within Northern Ireland.

Powell again; “the point of this is not how long it takes a lorry to cross a border the issue is identity. The Good Friday Agreement tried to solve the issue of identity by allowing people who live in Northern Ireland to feel Irish or feel British or feel both. If you put in a customs border, then that will be destroyed”.

He went on to describe the whole proposal as “a scam really”.

A hard No Deal Brexit will lead to a border in due course and will create huge problems in Northern Ireland that go way beyond the economy into the fabric of society, identity and peace itself.

No Deal will get nothing done. It will lead to, on Powell’s estimation, a decade of further negotiation and uncertainty. We won’t be negotiating under Article 50, but as a non-member, with God alone knows what consequences for society in the meantime.

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This is the gravity of the situation we face.

In pursuit of a political moment to create the space for an election where the party won't be competing with Nigel Farage’s Brexit party, the Tories are playing fast and loose with our economy, society, Irish peace and our long-term national interest. The extremist faction running the country are out of control and bereft of integrity.

“Getting Brexit done”, as Powell points out, is a vacuous meaningless lie, "a scam”. What they mean is “getting us out now at any cost”. And then the real pain and suffering will begin.

All the more remarkable then that, without a word to his own Scottish party colleagues, the Scottish Tory “Leader” Jackson Carlaw choose this week to declare a U-turn and that he and team now backed No Deal if a deal cannot be done:

“Another extension, another three months, with nobody really agreeing on what they would do during that [time] or what the outcome would be, is far more damaging for Scotland, for the United Kingdom and for business, for everybody, than finally getting to a point where we resolve this issue and move on.”

And with those words Carlaw severed the remaining link of moderation with Ruth Davidson’s project and aligned the Scottish Tories completely with the populist Brexiteer extremists now running the country. Ruth might as well not have bothered.

A completely remarkable turn of events. Because nothing gets done with a No Deal exit. All that gets done is that the UK is left naked in the middle of the road wondering what happens next. Yes, we are off the EU bus, but we don’t know where we are going. At all.

The lurid headlines in the newspapers about the alleged conduct of the Prime Minister have been dismissed, as are the warnings of expert public servants like Powell. We just have to get off this cliff edge we are standing on, no point waiting to see if the bridge will open or a ferryman will arrive. Let’s get off the cliff and on with smashing into the rocks. After all there might be a pool of water and all will be OK. So, Halloween it is. We must jump.

Well actually not Mr Johnson, Mr Cummings and Mr Carlaw. No. Not in our name, not in our interests and not in the interests of our cousins in the North and South of Ireland. Emphatically not. And, as all this is happening, a grinning Home Secretary Priti Patel takes the stage at the extremist rally in Manchester known as the Conservative party conference to declare: that she had a particular duty which was, “to end free movement of people, once and for all.”

So, my children will lose the freedom her generation and mine enjoyed. Our economy will pay the price, our society will be diminished, and the world will be worse off in every sense. And for what? The short-term political satiation of extremists.

If none of this is enough for you to wish to seek a different path, then I truly believe that you ought to pay closer attention. For those of us stewarding the case for a different way, the lesson from all of this is how not to make the case. We need to stay truthful, positive and real. We all deserve precisely that.