Miriam Margolyes’ outburst on the Today programme may be the only honest reaction we get to the slow-motion car crash that is British governance, as Conservative shades of grey fill the airwaves and the chance of real debate and any good crisis both slip away.

The outspoken 81-year-old actress was on Radio 4’s Today programme lamenting the late, great Robbie Coltrane. She had taken a seat just vacated by Jeremy Hunt and said she wished him luck, but really wanted to say “f*** you, you b******.”

Much paper shuffling and rapid apologies ensued – the Harry Potter star said afterwards she had mistakenly believed she was off air.

Well, ok. Those who enjoy Ms Margolyes’ cogent and occasionally sweary rants on Channel 4’s The Last Leg and her delicious indiscretions whilst Lost in Scotland with Alan Cummings in a campervan, might all hae their doots.

But whether the Harry Potter star intended her words for broadcast or not, she spoke – with visceral fury – for millions. Running this country isn’t a game.

Wrecking this country isn’t trivial. And listening worshipfully while Jeremy Hunt promises stability and the now customary Greek choir of ex-Tory advisers, ex-ministers and Tory-backing journalists assure viewers that a General Election would produce meltdown – that is not media analysis worthy of the name or the hefty pay packets.

Where is the deep scrutiny of what’s gone wrong? Where is the debate about how neighbouring social democracies consistently achieve better economic outcomes and more sustainable growth than the UK (clue income equality) while we trudge along at the bottom of international league tables?

Where are the emergency TV debates probing the wreckage of the past 12 Tory years? Why is no-one shaking their head or interrupting when Boris Johnson is turned into some paragon of economic competence simply because he isn't Liz Truss and because it seems a trifle indelicate to mention the denial, the delay, the hundreds of thousands of Covid deaths, the crony contracts, the scramble for PPE and the clapping for carers so insincerely performed that the average carer today earns £9.50 an hour, lives in poverty and must claim benefits to survive.

Mind you the prospect of a Boris return has receded now that Jeremy “safe pair of hands” Mr Hunt is effectively running the country. But what about his track record?

Will anyone raise the awkward fact that Mr Hunt’s privatisation of the English health system has all but destroyed it? As Health Secretary he presided over the biggest ever collapse in NHS spending in 2010, when the usual four per cent above inflation increase was slashed to one per cent. Some English health trusts went bankrupt, others took out loans and some essentially handed over to private companies like Virgin Healthcare.

Junior doctors went on strike, removing emergency care for the first time in NHS history when Mr Hunt ended overtime payments for weekend work - hastening today’s crisis where tens of thousands of doctors’ vacancies remain unfilled. Indeed, Jeremy Hunt’s semi-privatised health trusts ran up such crippling levels of debt that £13.4 billion was quietly written off during the second week of lockdown. Nice work. You can bet your bottom dollar you’ll never hear that mentioned again.

Nor will any interviewer or politician south of the border acknowledge the fuel poured onto the fire by Brexit – the self-harming protest vote that was enabled by David Cameron's reckless desire to scratch a constitutional itch. And above all, since another period of austerity beckons with doubled mortgage payments and record inflation - where is the critique of the whole painful Osborne austerity experiment that was so successful in stimulating growth and reversing Britain’s abysmal productivity record that it did neither?

The Tory philosophy – whether it’s one nation, “compassionate” or just Liz Truss – none of it has worked. And yet we hear no broad critiques and see no emergency leaders’ debates about how best to extract this country from the mire. Just careful interviews, controlled news conferences and constrained debates amongst supporters of one party that’s become so irrelevant to Scots that it’s set for electoral oblivion (again) at the next General Election.

Meanwhile we must watch utter drivel. On the Laura Kuenssberg programme, former health secretary, Matt Hancock said “the Prime Minister has already made a big move towards economic responsibility.” Whoop, whoop. That’s like saying a headmaster should stay in post because he finally accepts the importance of education.

And yet that ludicrous assertion passed without comment, leading viewers to conclude that they’ve gone mad, that everything is improbably alright or – more likely in Scotland – that blood pressure is best protected by switching off completely.

But citizens can’t switch off right now. We certainly don’t need more interviews with well-insulated broadcasters rolling their eyes at the 'pickle' the Tories are in, breathless with excitement at their own daring.

We do need leadership from civic society, opposition parties and the fourth estate to force a reversal of the mini budget, an apology, a resignation from Liz Truss and a vigorously contested General Election that doesn’t consist of soundbites and blame gaming.

Of course, it’s tempting and therapeutic to kick Liz Truss around – metaphorically speaking. But her time in power – if not her time in office – is already over.

Far more important than when she goes, whether Rishi Sunak or Boris Johnson replaces her and how long before the inevitable election is one question – what has gone so badly wrong? What have we learned from the last 12, 20 and 50 years?

If we hurtle on without a second’s consideration of recent history, we are surely doomed to repeat it and squander the slim chance that this awful winter might deliver a long overdue wake-up call and a grim turning point for Britain. It's time for long-term thinking.

So, today's publication of the economic case for independence deserves close scrutiny not automatic trashing. No path is without difficulty now. But only a few protagonists respect the electorate enough to let them decide.

Read more by Lesley Riddoch:

Why isn’t there more of a fuss over the housing crisis?

We could be entering a new age of protest and rebellion