WASN’T it nice, during the UK Parliament’s Easter recess, to have a break from the Brexiters’ facile arguments?

In certain quiet moments, you could almost have imagined that Brexit might have gone away altogether. And that would be very nice indeed.

However, it has been back to the grim reality of noisy tub-thumping since MPs’ holidays ended.

We have had Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, once a Remainer but now an enthusiastic embracer of leaving the European Union, banging on about a no-deal departure being better than no Brexit.

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The cold economic facts are totally at odds with the heat generated by myriad Brexit-loving politicians as they paint their fantastical picture of a Mighty Blighty that may not even have existed in the days of Empire to which some appear to hark back.

Mr Hunt, touted as a potential future leader of the Conservatives at a time when Prime Minister Theresa May remains under intense pressure, seemed to be almost falling over himself to declare that he would choose a no-deal outcome over no Brexit late last week. And, although he says he prefers leaving with an agreement, he has warned against Mrs May agreeing a deal with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn involving a customs union.

Of course, a customs union in itself, even if it were agreed, would not be anything like sufficient to address many of the Brexit-related nightmares facing the UK.

While staying in the customs union would help address the need for future frictionless trade, this arrangement would on its own not be anywhere near enough to enable Scotland and other parts of the UK to avoid massive damage from Brexit over coming years and decades.

For example, Scotland and other parts of the UK are heavily dependent for future economic prosperity and living standards on a continued strong flow of net immigration from other EU countries. And staying in a customs union would alone do nothing to prevent the Conservatives’ ill-judged plan to cut immigration dramatically.

A customs union must not be confused with remaining in the European single market. Staying in the single market would enable the UK, and its citizens, to continue to benefit from free movement of people from and to EU countries. Single-market membership is crucial if the UK is serious about limiting the damage visited upon us by the Brexit vote. Of course, even the UK Government’s own forecasts show the least-damaging option of all when it comes to the Brexit debate is to remain in the EU.

While Mr Hunt looks as if he is enjoying the limelight, the Bank of England has continued to flag the detrimental impact of Brexit on the UK economy.

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Bank Governor Mark Carney’s cool and reasoned assessment yesterday of the Leave vote’s effects so far, and what the future might hold, provided a welcome relief from the hot air from Brexiter politicians.

Mr Carney said: “Unable to plan for their long-term future, UK businesses have focused on short-term Brexit contingency plans.”

While observing Brexit-related stockbuilding was now expected to have contributed to an “upside surprise” to first-quarter UK growth, Mr Carney noted the Monetary Policy Committee expects “a corresponding drag to growth in Q2”.

And Mr Hunt might well be interested in Mr Carney’s comments about the realities of a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Carney warned: “It remains the case that companies are only as ready as they can be, and they expect a marked decline in the rate of growth, investment and employment in the event of a hard Brexit. In recent surveys, firms expected their output would fall by 3.5% in the event of a no-deal, no-transition Brexit.”

Mr Carney underlined the dampening impact of Brexit-related uncertainty on capital investment by businesses. And he noted the effect of Brexit on the housing market, “where transactions are currently subdued and prices stagnating”.

Mr Hunt, given his relatively unperturbed attitude towards a no-deal Brexit, might also want to reflect on the fact that UK manufacturers are already reporting that overseas customers are re-routing their supply chains away from the UK ahead of Brexit.

This is a reality most at odds with the days-of-Empire-style rhetoric from the Conservatives. This patter was going on even before Brexit, with former chancellor George Osborne’s much-vaunted but entirely unrealised vision of “a Britain carried aloft by the march of the makers”.

The Brexit folly has, since the summer of 2016, weighed heavily on the pound. Sterling weakness should boost UK manufacturers’ competitiveness in overseas markets. Yet UK manufacturers’ overall export performance is very weak, with the sector’s new overseas orders falling at the second-fastest monthly pace in four-and-a-half years in April, according to a survey published this week by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.

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Yes, overseas companies can source what they need from places other than the UK if existing arrangements become too difficult as a result of Brexit. And those politicians who would lead us over the cliff into Brexitland, both those individuals who whipped up the frenzy that brought the June 2016 result upon us all and the converts like Mr Hunt, would do well to bear this in mind.

Labour remains demoralisingly reluctant to embrace a second referendum on EU membership, although it would back such an option if it cannot win support for its favoured Brexit deal, or secure changes to the Government’s agreement or a General Election.

SNP politicians are thankfully making the case for no Brexit, as are the Liberal Democrats. That said, we may not have had the 2016 referendum in the first place had the Liberal Democrats not propped up former prime minister David Cameron’s government.

We are in a situation in which it would be good to see someone in the political world show real leadership and look after the welfare and living standards of people, rather than implementing a referendum result that appears to no longer reflect the electorate’s wishes in any case.

Sadly, however, the horrible xenophobic genie released from the bottle ahead of the 2016 referendum appears to be among factors impeding rational discussion of the realities of the situation.