A WEEK is a long time in politics, so goes the cliché - and this has felt like a particularly long week. The new Prime Minister has certainly wasted no time in taking the UK Government down a new hardline Brexiteer path, and who knows where this road will take us.

Mr Johnson deserves some small credit, at least, for being willing to come to Scotland, against the advice of some - but it’s fair to say that he will not like everything that he heard. 

And there is no point in him saying he will listen to people’s concerns if he is unwilling to act upon them.

The chorus of opposition to his Brexit plans - and in the case of his arrival at Bute House, it was quite literally a chorus - was inescapable, not just in Scotland, but during his visits around England, in Wales yesterday and doubtless during his trip to Northern Ireland. 

Effectively pursuing a no-deal Brexit is not only deeply concerning, but has led to unwelcome jitters in the market, and the fall in Sterling is the last thing Scots holidaymakers want to hear at this time of year. 

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Meanwhile, workers across the country will be rightly worried as they hear statements like that of Vauxhall’s owners yesterday, warning they will leave if a No Deal Brexit hits their profits.

But none of these events should surprise us. The Scottish Government has been warning for months that a no-deal Brexit has the potential to push the economy into recession, damaging business investment and household incomes.

Analysis by Scotland’s Chief Economic Adviser has shown that the scale of likely damage to the economy would be profound - a potential shrinking of our economy by up to 7 per cent, a drop in exports by up to 20% and reduced business investment in Scotland by £1bn in 2019 alone. 

We are not alone in our concern. The CBI ratcheted up their own no-deal warnings this week, making clear that the UK is not ready for what would be a calamitous exit from the UK. The TUC have rightly pointed out that workers need workers’ rights, not a no-deal Brexit. 

Farmers are facing huge tariffs on exports and lengthy customs delays, with reports livestock may need to be slaughtered if it cannot be sold on time and at the right price.

Even the UK Government’s own independent advisers, the Office of Budget Responsibility, have made clear that Brexit will make us poorer and a no deal would be economically irresponsible.

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In short, as the First Minister said on Monday, the government is pursuing a dangerous path and it is doing so deliberately.

As Scotland’s Finance Secretary, it is particularly frustrating that all of this uncertainty comes when Scotland’s economy is performing well. Unemployment is low, employment is high and exports are up. Brexit threatens the progress we are making, with forecasts remaining subdued as Brexit looms and our ability to tackle inequalities hampered by the likely hit to revenues that will come from No Deal.

We are already seeing funding which could be used to tackle poverty or grow the economy instead being spent on preparing for No deal, and the opportunities for young people are being limited.

We have been consistent that the best option for the future wellbeing and prosperity of Scotland - and the UK as a whole - is to stay in the European Union. That is what people here voted for, and it is our democratic right to decide whether to become an independent country rather than have a calamitous Brexit imposed upon us. 

As a responsible government we will prepare for all EU Exit possibilities. But we cannot simply wash away the challenges with a dose of Blitz spirit, or by harking back to the supposed good old days of empire.  

In fact, regardless of how much planning or contingency work we do, it will not be possible to allay every impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. That is why it is so important that we do everything in our power to avoid that scenario.

However Brexit is achieved - deal or no-deal - there are two inconvenient and inescapable truths that cannot be denied: Brexit will be bad for our economy, and it goes against the express wishes of the Scottish people.

It has created a democratic crisis – and if we continue down Boris Johnson’s reckless path, could create a serious economic crisis. Scotland deserves much better than this.