ASKED for his thoughts on fox hunting, Oscar Wilde quipped: “It’s the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.”

The Tory approach to immigration often looks much the same. A full-throated pursuit of those desperate enough to pitch up on sewage-encrusted southern shores.

Not that Labour offers much succour for ­asylum seekers. Ever frightened of ­scaring the bitter anti-immigrant vote, Labour ­remains ­largely silent; explaining that reform is impossible because “there’s no money”.

The full idiocy of Westminster’s blueprint is illustrated in the utter shambles of their barge plan. They committed £1.6 billion to house ­asylum seekers in two barges. One was destined for Glasgow before the SNP administration wisely scuppered that idea.

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The remaining barge started operations in breach of fire regulations. Then, when it began boarding a number of unfortunate people it was discovered the vessel is a biohazard harbouring Legionnaires disease. The Home Office took its usual time to act.

So poor was their ­performance that even Tories deplored its absurdity.

“The barge is becoming a bit like the seven plagues of Egypt out of the Bible. First, we had the fire issue, then we had Legionnaires ­disease. It’s an ongoing disaster. Like an episode of ­Fawlty Towers,” said Tory Dorset county councillor­ Louie O’Leary.

In this latest British screw-up, taxpayers now find that, after spending £140 million on ­Rwanda and £1.6bn on barges, the UK now has no one in Rwanda and no one on a barge. ­Astonishingly, the Home Office minister, Suella Braverman, is still in post.

All this time her boss, the Prime Minister, ­endlessly chants; “Stop the Boats”. It is ­having little effect except to encourage extremist ­radio hosts in turn to shout; “Let’s machine gun the boats!”

This leaves the clear impression that the ­Tories are reconciled to losing the next General Election, and all their energies are now deployed toward shoring up their base vote. Since the party has moved significantly to the right, this means appeasing the very worst in British society. ­Despite this rightward lurch, the polls are not encouraging.

Over 80% of those polled by Ipsos recently say the Tories are doing a bad job “improving the health service”. While almost as many, 78%, say they are failing “to manage ­immigration”. As this is their flagship policy, you can understand why there is wholesale panic in Tory ranks.

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Facing defeat, the Tories will likely wreck the country ahead of the next election, leaving the new incumbents to clear up the mess. Labour will be elected largely by default. People are not reassured by a Labour leadership that ducks every commitment pleading “we don’t know what money is left”. So, the electorate will hold its nose and vote them in, but likely with a small majority.

That’s when the trouble really begins. Labour have sworn “to make Brexit work”. Even the dogs in the street know this is nuts. In voting for Brexit, the UK shot itself in both feet. Even walking upright will now be a challenge.

The British state will continue to putrefy, largely because of Brexit, and Labour will come under ever greater pressure. They will be forced to spend. Then, up will go the cry: “Same old ­Labour, spending money that’s not there.”

They will be very lucky indeed to last until the election after next.

It could have been oh-so different. Had ­Labour espoused constitutional reform all would have changed. Instead of aping the Tories in stuffing the House of Lords with electoral rejects, ­Labour could have made constitutional improvements. For instance, they could have swept away the discredited first-past-the-post voting system.

A proportional system, such as that used in Scotland, would have prevented the Tories from being continually re-elected as they have been over recent decades.

Faced with a rapidly worsening situation, Labour will panic. They will likely recant on “making Brexit work” and seek to rejoin the ­European Union in some form. The media will be merciless, screaming “Labour U-turn”, at every opportunity.

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Meanwhile in Scotland, the short-lived ­triumphalism prompted by the appointment of Ian Murray as Secretary of State will disappear rapidly. He will likely begin his term of office appealing to SNP MPs to support the Labour government and end it as a figure of fun, like the present incumbent.

In the longer term, the Tories will return to power at Westminster thanks to the broken electoral system. And Labour can look forward to many years in the wilderness as the British state crumbles around us.

Wise heads will point to the lack of integrity as the fundamental flaw in UK governance.

As most know, if there weren’t double ­standards at Westminster, there wouldn’t be any standards at all.

It’s past time for independence. Declare YOUR independence today.