WHY does nothing work? Everything the British Government touches seems to turn to dust. The dumping of raw sewage is just one example, but a telling one: is there anything that displays such blatant disregard for the common good as allowing shit to be sprayed all over the beaches?

Rishi Sunak might have solved, for now, the problem of executive instability, but do not get your hopes up. Aside from a slight lull in the ­political drama, it does not mean things are ­going to get any better. If anything, having someone tolerably competent and apparently ­committed to actually doing the job in charge means that more energy can be poured into making things worse.

The UK Government’s agenda remains a ­characteristically Tory one: ­authoritarian, ­British nationalist, anti-constitutional, ­anti-European, pro-rich, anti-worker and anti-public services. Fundamental human rights, ­democracy itself and ethics in public life ­continue to be under strain. It is Johnsonism without the bling and the bungs.

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Yet it is a government essentially out of ­control. It must respond to events that it ­cannot control, because in abandoning Europe it has ­destroyed the economic foundations of the whole economy. Yes, there are global ­pressures, but only the United Kingdom has, in effect, put itself under an economic blockade and ­destroyed its own export industry.

This is now painfully apparent. A clear ­majority, even in England, admit that Brexit was a mistake. But it is a mistake that cannot be admitted, let alone fixed. The Brexit genie ­cannot be put back in the bottle.

Even if domestic public opinion shifts, and even if the political class were able to admit their mistake, the United Kingdom has lost the trust and confidence of its erstwhile European allies. It will take a lot of genuine repentance and reform to convince the governments of ­Europe that it can be trusted.

I do not see how rejoining can be possible without re-constituting the state. The United Kingdom does not, as presently constituted, meet the criteria for European Union membership. The only path back to Europe, for England at any rate, lies through major, fundamental, constitutional re-foundation.

Meanwhile, Scotland struggles on. Lots of things in Scotland are – thankfully – still more or less working. There are, despite all the challenges, some genuine success stories. The Scottish Child Payment is one which will bring much-needed relief to many families. It is a good example of how devolution, in the right hands, can mitigate the mismanagement of the British state.

However, Scotland, so long as it remains in the United Kingdom, cannot avoid the ­consequences of the British Government’s ­decisions. Devolution gave Scotland ­authority over much of public service delivery, but ­macro-economic management was deemed too important for the likes of us and had to be kept at Westminster for our own good. That worked about as well as could be expected.

The problem is that without decent macro-economic management, service delivery invariably gets squeezed. Scotland needs the powers and levers to grow our economy – not in the Liz Truss way, but in the sense of actually investing in and developing the productive capacity of Scottish industry and opening opportunities for Scottish commerce. All that has been ­scuppered, not least by Brexit. Austerity-driven cuts are being passed on to Scotland.

It should come as no surprise then that a ­majority of people in Scotland do not believe the United Kingdom will exist, in its current form, in five years’ time. Nor is it surprising that there is now a stable majority in favour of ­independence. Independence has gone from ­being a matter of choice and opportunity to a matter of necessity and survival.

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Britain’s death-knell was Brexit. But ­Britain’s disease was constitutional and ethical ­atrophy, evident in the squandering of billions of ­public money (that could have been used on ­development, infrastructure and regeneration) on companies with oddly close ties to a certain party.

How do we know Scotland will be better off with independence? It is not about GERS ­figures – which only show the ­under-performance of the Scottish economy it its present conditions, shackled to an England bent on ­self-destruction and with one hand tied behind its back. ­Rather, it is because we have confidence that, in ­comparison to the British state, a new Scottish state will be more willing, and better able, to serve the public interest and the common good of the people of Scotland.

That has nothing to do with identity. It has everything to do with the opportunity to: (a) rejoin Europe, and (b) build better institutions and a more ethical institutional culture.

Good governance – with all the boring hard work of planning and administering, monitoring and auditing, building things and running them well, and resisting corruption – and frictionless access to the European market: that is what will make Scotland flourish.