If you were looking for the scariest moment of last week from a UK economic perspective, it would surely be difficult to top Suella Braverman’s speech last Monday to the “National Conservatism” conference in London.

Even by the standards of the hard Brexit Tories, and that is a high bar on the scare scale, it was a frightening oration.

The style and approach were sadly typical of what we have seen from the ruling Conservatives. Nevertheless, in terms of the lack of grasp of basic economics shown, what Ms Braverman delivered was quite extraordinary.

The quotation which came to mind (from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet) was that “the lady doth protest too much” as the Secretary of State for the Home Department decried experts and claimed that predictions of an economic “catastrophe” from Brexit had been wrong.

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You would imagine many households and businesses laid low by the very real and major damage from Brexit would define what has occurred as a “catastrophe”.

As I observed in my column in The Herald on Wednesday, Brexit has greatly exacerbated the UK’s inflation crisis, and added to the food-price woe of households, at the most difficult of times. It has fuelled the UK’s skills and labour shortage crisis, affecting huge numbers of firms across myriad sectors, with the end of free movement of people between the UK and European Economic Area countries. And it has caused huge woes for so many exporters.

What was most telling in Ms Braverman’s speech was that she focused on emotional aspects, rather than cold economics.

British nationalism was to the fore as she talked about “a legitimate desire to regain our national sovereignty”. This remains curious – “regain” implies it was something that had been taken away by the European Union and this was patently not the case.

Ms Braverman’s celebration this week of Brexit and the associated clampdown on immigration was all about ideology.

She declared: "Those prognosticators of doom who said that Brexit would be an economic catastrophe for the UK – not only were they wrong, they demonstrated a profound ignorance of the British people when they attributed their legitimate desire to regain our national sovereignty as some mix of stupidity and xenophobia."

No economic substance in this at all - just dogma.

And much of Brexit was and is about stupidity and xenophobia, so we should not be cowed into not saying so.

Thankfully the “experts” that Ms Braverman so derided last Monday - with her comments evoking memories of her fellow Cabinet minister Michael Gove’s outlandish remarks in a similar vein ahead of the Brexit referendum in 2016 - have come up with the sober analysis and the hard numbers.

And it is no wonder Ms Braverman does not want people listening to these experts.

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Centre for European Reform deputy director John Springford’s latest report on the impact of leaving the EU on the UK economy, published in December, estimates that Brexit had, by the second quarter of 2022, reduced the country’s gross domestic product by 5.5%.

Forecasts drawn up by Theresa May’s government in 2018 showed Brexit would, with an average free trade deal with the EU, result in UK GDP in 15 years’ time being 4.9% lower than if the country had stayed in the bloc if there were no change to migration arrangements. Or 6.7% worse on the basis of zero net inflow of workers from EEA countries.

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Office for Budget Responsibility chairman Richard Hughes, when asked in March on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme about how much stronger the UK economy would have been had the country stayed in the EU, replied: “We think that in the long run it reduces our overall output by around 4% compared with had we remained in the EU.”

That all seems clear enough. And these are all huge numbers. Maybe Ms Braverman could, the next time she takes to a podium, explain why Brexit has in her mind not been an “economic catastrophe”. That would be most interesting to hear.

Relief, rather than fear, was to the fore last week with the news that US private equity outfit Apollo had decided not to make a formal offer for John Wood Group, having been granted access to the long-established Aberdeen company’s books to facilitate formulation of a firm bid.

The importance to Scotland and its economy of having major publicly quoted companies based firmly north of the Border should not be underestimated, and was highlighted in my column in The Herald on Friday.

Returning to Ms Braverman, something which should also not be underestimated is the damage that Brexit continues to inflict on the economy in Scotland (whose people voted firmly to remain in the EU back in 2016) and throughout the UK.

If she and her Cabinet colleagues are truly interested in the prosperity of the UK, they should stop wasting time dreaming up and delivering groundless and baffling arguments that Brexit has not caused economic damage. Instead, they should admit to the damage they have caused and start trying to repair some of it. The wish would obviously be that they take a major step to address the dismal situation by getting the UK back into the European single market as soon as possible. However, Ms Braverman’s offering last Monday signals that even minor climbdowns by the UK Government from its Brexit high horse are most unlikely.