THERE is an old saying that those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

If proof were needed, we see the UK Government acting more insanely each day.

International treaties are torn up. Corruption runs rife. The British ministers lie with impunity. There is a resurgence of Covid-19. Winter, with its attendant problems, fast approaches. And a No-Deal Brexit looms like an evil spectre over everyone.

A growing number of people say the present UK administration is less of a government and more of a crime syndicate.

By the way, for those wondering where tearing up the Withdrawal Agreement falls on the constitutional Richter scale, it’s like hearing your dad announcing he’s divorcing your mum … during his speech at your wedding.

And to say, as the minister did, “we will only break the law in a specific and limited way”, simply invites ridicule. This quote will soon be used by malefactors as often as the Barnard Castle defence for suspect eyesight. And the integrity of any law officer who remains in an administration that has declared it will not obey the law is open to question.

Incongruously, this moral turpitude has spawned one growth industry – the retelling of myths. The populace is asked to ignore the growing chaos around them and recall the halcyon days of yore – as if this invocation might feed people or get them a job.

A popular myth is the “spirit of The Blitz”. For younger readers, this is usually a reference to the Second World War bombing of London when plucky Cockneys defied the might of the Third Reich through selfless devotion to their fellow Londoners. We are told that, with a few exceptions, everyone pulled together and “put the country first”.

However, according to the BBC’s History Hour, the Second World War produced a major crime wave in London, including a vast increase in looting and a flourishing black market. The dying were robbed of their jewellery, and valuables were routinely thieved from bombed houses. Indeed, one group of the Pioneer Corps, charged with bomb site assistance, instead stripped the lead from adjacent houses unaffected by bombing.

Far from the myth of “everyone pulling together”, crime in fact rose by more than 50% between 1939-45.

Juliet Gardner, who wrote The Blitz, Britain Under Attack, says: “A Rev George Markham knew that the minute a bomb fell in his area it was essential to send wardens immediately to the site to prevent looting.”

He also tried to have bodies moved promptly to his church crypt because “if I didn’t, someone would go through their pockets and remove their watches, their money and their ID”.

The History Hour quotes a market trader from the East End of London who tells of a friend who set up an “official-looking” sign board at bomb sites where he and associates could loot at leisure.

This is not to deny that many people behaved well in these straitened circumstances – of course they did. Rather we need to be very wary of those who invoke myths to make their case or, worse, to obscure the facts.

Today, we hear much of selfless devotion by our hospital staff and others, and we ought to be very glad this is so. But when these platitudes come from the mouths of those who raid the public purse, pulverise the poor and ignore the growing plight of the homeless, we should call this out.

These depredations are only possible because the UK does not have a written constitution that might constrain a misbegotten government.

As things stand, any UK government with a working majority can make up the constitution as it goes along. This is an outrage in any civilised country; not least as it renders ordinary folks defenceless against an immoral and despotic government.

Demonic Cummings and his associates spotted this constitutional flaw some time ago and could scarcely believe their luck. Free of any limits on their behaviour, they have become tyrants. Don’t like devolution? Kill it by enforcing an Internal Market Bill. Don’t like the Withdrawal Agreement? Abandon it. Hate the Good Friday Agreement? Ignore it.

On a positive note, amidst all the talk of UK Government treachery, the Tories in Scotland can be relied upon to add to the gaiety of the nations. Its new leader Douglas Ross MP announces he plans to be the next First Minister, ignoring the fate of the many other opposition leaders who made the same boast. Some have suggested the only way he could achieve this is through joining the SNP!

This column welcomes questions from readers Andrew Wilson, head of the Growth Commission, is next week’s guest live on the TNT show. Join us at 7pm on Wednesday