GOVERNMENTS may sometimes blunder into doing severe and lasting economic harm to their citizens but it must be almost unique for one to deliberately and willingly adopt a policy which is certain – no ifs, no buts – to do so.

Yet that is what Boris Johnson and his acolytes have done with their final Brexit negotiating proposals, and moreover on Thursday they published a document in which they flaunted both the intention and the means.

The Scottish Government, given for once a few days access to the final draft of the document, made a last-ditch attempt to change both the approach and the tone.

But whilst there were small cosmetic tweaks made in the last 48 hours, what finally appeared was more doctrinaire and isolationist than ever.

The conscious decision of the UK to seek only a Canada-style free trade agreement with the EU will mean that Scottish GDP (the measure of all the goods and services in our country and therefore a snapshot of economic activity) will, by 2030, be £9 billion a year lower than it would be by simply staying in the EU, which is of course what our country voted for. A No Deal would be even more costly.

This means that we will all be much worse off than we are now. We will feel that in our wages and in the wellbeing of our country and communities.

There will be fewer jobs for our young people and less to spend on essential public services.

Since 2008 Scotland has been through a steep recession, a decade of austerity and a Brexit slowdown whilst ahead there lies the brutal head winds of a deliberately and savagely hard Brexit, and a nasty and completely counter productive ban on essential migration.

Meanwhile the Brexiteer crowing about a new, prosperous global Britain riding the wave of trade deals will prove to be nothing more than a mirage.

For example even the most favourable US deal will contribute less than half a percent to GDP, as well as a likely rise in food poisoning.

Theresa May’s mantra that “No Deal is better than a bad deal” has been turned on its head by Johnson.

Now a bad deal is being preferred to any other deal, and a No Deal is seen as probably best of all.

Working out how isolationist, backward-looking extremists of the far-right managed, in the space of not much more than three and a half years, to take over the Government of the UK will be a matter for historians.

What is now absolutely certain is that the Johnson Brexit is light years from what was being discussed in June 2016 during the European Referendum campaign, and far distant even from the May plans outlined at the start of 2017. It is the type of Brexit that was espoused only by the lunatic fringe at the start of this process.

To avoid that, and its fearful consequences, we must persuade all our fellow citizens that Scottish independence isn’t the icing on the cake, but the basic ingredient that is required before the cake can be baked.

Someone told me last week that whilst he was now more open to independence (having been a No voter in 2014) he only wanted it to happen after we had got “everything else working well”.

What the UK negotiating mandate proves, however, is that far from having the space, resources and time to undertake that task, we are instead faced with imminent and accelerating decline.

The SNP in government has done the day job diligently, imaginatively and to the best of our ability for the last 13 years. We have improved public services and this week’s Budget deal with the Greens shows we are determined to go on doing so.

But year on year it becomes harder and harder given the constant cuts to the Scottish Budget from London.

We now know that these can only get worse so we must – absolutely must –take control of our own future, our own resources and our own lives.

Chauvinistic, backward-looking, British nationalism as expressed in the Tory Brexit plans is an existential threat to Scotland’s future.

The only possible successful antidote is the civic nationalism that Scotland has developed over the past three decades, fulfilled by steering Scotland back into the EU.

The fuel for that journey is public support and political pressure. We must build those ever more rapidly if we are to avoid the dystopia towards which the Tories are now frog-marching us.