IN the fog of Brexit, it seems, old values go to die. The hard right which has annexed the Conservative Party insist that the process of leaving the EU has lingered too long and that we now must “get Brexit done”.

They should be thankful that it has and you wonder if they have connived at ensuring that this process has been an unkempt and prolonged one.

The tortuous negotiations have now begun to anaesthetise us. Thus the edge of our disapproval at that which once we would have considered iniquitous is blunted.

The Conservatives are loving all of this, of course, although they feign weariness and disapproval at what is happening. Brexit has proved to be a conveniently lengthy vehicle for removing public outrage.

As the Left noisily celebrated in the aftermath of their virtual victory in the Supreme Court last month, in real life thousands of British workers experienced at first-hand how cold and unforgiving capitalism is when our backs are turned and it’s left to go about its business unchecked.

The Thomas Cook workers - whose loyalty and hard work had made this travel firm one of the most respected on the planet - came to discover that, all along, they were considered to be expedient in the grand scheme of things.

The senior management of Thomas Cook, whose incompetence and lack of vision ran this institution, milked it until it was dry long after they must have known it was in dire straits. After all, there were still a few years of multi-million-pound bonuses to collect. Best keep maintaining the pretence of a going concern.

What sort of system programmes itself to reward failure? The acolytes of the free market proclaim the virtues of unhindered competition.

They urge the state not to intervene when capitalists are going about their business.

Failure is an orphan but in British business it’s a spoilt brat. Failure to run your business properly and to the point where it must fold qualifies you for a bonanza in the UK. Isn’t responsible capitalism supposed to punish failure with consequences?

At this time also, workers at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain were beginning to feel capitalism’s sting. The Jamie Oliver imprint had duped many UK diners into thinking that this would be more than just another Italian food chain.

These restaurants though, seemed to be the predictable result of what happens when celebrities begin to believe their own publicity and advisers who don’t want to be the bearers of bad news.

Capitalism relies on a so-called trickle-down effect to make it seem virtuous. In this we are told that entrepreneurs are ‘wealth-providers’ and thus shouldn’t be subject to normal checks and balances.

They are deemed to be special and above these trifles. Successful businesses build a halo effect in which smaller enterprises come to bask in their bounty so just leave them be.

Perhaps, but something more perverse occurs too when large enterprises are found to have behaved badly and deployed ruthlessness. Immorality in business also trickles down. Smaller operators further down the food chain no longer feel compelled to maintain decency.

Last week the BBC interviewed some former employees of Thomas Cook as they sought to re-build their lives. These people spoke of bewilderment and of having to consider the possibility of visiting a food-bank as they waited for their unemployment benefits with a family of children requiring food relying on them.

Others spoke of being served with summary eviction notices by rapacious landlords unwilling to extend them a few weeks of compassion. The free market which permits its high priests to ditch you at a moment’s notice without requiring them to pay you compensation then makes you wait for several weeks before offering you some relief.

Greedy landlords prey on the failure to invest adequately in affordable homes and feel emboldened when they see how a grand enterprise like Thomas Cook is permitted to treat its staff and customers.

The Conservative Party which champions this process, not least because it offers comfort to its principal donors, claims it is the party of the family.

In truth, its indulgence of the worst excesses of capitalism destroys families and erodes trust in the institutions which support them. Why would anyone seek a binding commitment which might involve providing security for children when the state refuses to underwrite it?

Last week too it was revealed by the Office for National Statistics that 726 homeless people died in 2018, which was an increase of 22 per cent from the previous year. The news rated barely a mention, however, as Brexit bulldozes all common concerns aside and the Conservatives maintained the fiction of being concerned about the distended process of leaving the European Union.

Like the employees of Thomas Cook and Jamie Oliver they will soon be forgotten in the Brexit pea-souper.

In the midst of it though, a ray of light. The UN Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty commended the Scottish Government for its efforts in seeking to mitigate some of the worst excesses of capitalism in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Under our current constitutional arrangements in the United Kingdom, without full control of all the tax levers and spending priorities, this may amount to building a tent in a hurricane but somebody noticed and appreciated it.

When Brexit removes any remaining controls on the behaviour of corporate employers and the obligations of the government to help their victims, the case for Scotland standing alone to oppose this will soon become a compelling one.