AMID all the sound and fury around Brexit this week, ramped up a notch with an intensification of the divided Conservatives’ posturing for their party conference week, clarity of thought has seemed in lamentably short supply.

Thankfully, away from the Tories’ jamboree in Birmingham, crucial points about the simple truths of Brexit have been well made by others. And it is these truths which need to be hammered home in these febrile times in which fears of a no-deal exit by the UK from the European Union dominate and businesses and households alike bite their nails and wait to see what will happen next.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt appeared way, way wide of the mark this week on the clarity of thought front, with his comparison of the EU and the former Soviet Union utterly baffling (and supremely unhelpful).

Similarly missing the point has been Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, who called on the EU to match what he claimed was the “ambition and pragmatism” of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Chequers proposals for a deal. Mr Raab talked boldly about not being “bullied”, as he seemingly attempted to make the EU shift its negotiating position to accommodate the UK. It was difficult to shake the impression of a UK Government tantrum on hearing this line of attack.

We have also heard a (dancing) Mrs May talk this week about Brexit as an opportunity, and declare: “We have everything we need to succeed.”

In the real world, it might be worth reminding Mrs May the UK is about to throw away one of the big things it needs to succeed: EU membership.

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In contrast to Mrs May, Mr Hunt, and Mr Raab, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker did hit the mark with a simple, yet astute, important and well-elucidated, observation. Speaking to an audience of several thousand people in the Germany city of Freiburg, Mr Juncker said: “Sometimes I have the impression that the British think that it’s us quitting Great Britain, but it’s exactly the other way around.”

Mr Juncker has a very good point. You could certainly be forgiven for thinking the UK Government and many Brexiters believe the EU should be going out of its way to accommodate Great British whims.

It was former prime minister David Cameron who decided to have a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. The UK electorate voted to Leave, although it remains crucial to remember that people in Scotland and other parts of the UK such as London and Northern Ireland voted to Remain. Since then, none of the grand visions the Brexiters put in front of the electorate about the supposed benefits of leaving the EU have materialised. This is no surprise.

Mr Juncker was right to observe in Freiburg this week that the discussion in the UK over Brexit remains far removed from reality.

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On the subject of reality, what has actually happened is that UK growth has already been dragged down by the prospect of Brexit. Chancellor Philip Hammond this week acknowledged there had been a “hit to the economy” from Brexit uncertainty, with many businesses “sitting on their hands”.

And there will be much, much worse to come if we get to a no-deal situation, which looks like a major danger in any case and particularly so given that Mrs May, Mr Hunt, Mr Raab and other senior members of the Conservative Government appear to be over-estimating massively the UK’s negotiating power.

The warnings keep coming, even if the Brexiters do not want to hear.

Japanese car giant Nissan, which has a huge European manufacturing plant in Sunderland, warned of “serious implications” of a no-deal scenario for UK industry. Mrs May and her Government should certainly heed this warning.

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The chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover told news agency Reuters this week that the company had yet to make an imminent decision on whether to build electric cars in the UK partly because of uncertainty over final Brexit terms.

Ralf Speth said: “We haven’t made the decision because we don’t know at the end of the day the final conditions and we also see uncertainty resulting out of the Brexit discussions, so we don’t know where we can do the investment best. At the very last moment, you can decide about the location so there is a certain flexibility, but we have used a lot of this kind of time already so the discussions about this kind of technologies and future locations are imminent.”

Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche said on Tuesday that the prospect of a disorderly Brexit was a serious cause for concern.

He added: “Possible scenarios are highly worrying...In sum, it is an extraordinarily sad development.”

A potential dampening of demand for Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks in the UK would be one immediate impact of a no-deal exit for Daimler.

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Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned last month that the UK economy would shrink if Mrs May’s Government and Brussels fail to reach a Brexit agreement.

And Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Ross McEwan has this week warned of the danger of UK recession if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Such contraction would hit already straitened UK household finances and dampen business investment further. And a no-deal exit is a very real possibility.

A survey reveals businesses have, since early summer, become far, far less confident about the UK Government’s ability to deliver a “good deal” on Brexit. Only 22 per cent of Scottish business leaders said they were confident about the Government’s ability to deliver a good deal, a survey conducted by YouGov and published this week by accountancy firm RSM showed. This was down from 58% in RSM’s previous quarterly Brexit monitor.

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The survey was conducted prior to the recent Salzburg summit, but you can hardly imagine that meeeting fuelled businesses’ hopes.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal of the University of Glasgow, warned this week at a Brexit summit organised by Glasgow City Council that a hard Brexit that took the UK out of the single market and customs union would be “the most unhinged example of national self-sabotage in living memory”.

Like Mr Juncker, economist Sir Anton has thoughtfully hit the mark, in contrast to the aimless posturing by UK Government ministers and other high-profile Tories in Birmingham this week.