In the last week or so, the Tory ideology which has been so damaging to the UK economy has been in the spotlight.

Of course, that is not to say there has been some sort of epiphany among the ruling Conservatives or their erstwhile chief Brexit negotiator Lord David Frost, in terms of them suddenly realising the damage they have caused and putting their hands up.

Rather, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Lord Frost, a former chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, have been ploughing what for them are very familiar furrows.

The reality looks ever more distant from what they are peddling and that is saying something.

For Mr Sunak, we have had a regurgitation of the Tories’ toxic message on welfare, with some fresh topspin.

The topspin did not make the message any more palatable from a societal perspective.

And the Tory “reasoning” on this front was as baffling as ever from an economic standpoint.

As my column in The Herald on Wednesday observed: “To say that the Conservatives’ efforts to drive the economically inactive back to work are looking increasingly desperate would be a monumental understatement.”

Mr Sunak, in a speech on April 19, characterised this Tory obsession with driving the economically inactive back to work as his “moral mission”.

To try to characterise the latest Tory clampdown on welfare benefits as a matter of morality is quite something. And the language used by the UK Government was remarkable.

The UK Government press release, highlighting Mr Sunak’s supposed “moral mission”, declared that the consultation that it has launched on benefits “comes as many more working-age people are being awarded PIP (Personal Independence Payment) for mental health conditions than when it was first introduced over a decade ago”. It referred to “concerns that the assessment process is significantly easier to game by individuals who seek to exploit the system”, which seemed like an incredibly over-the-top statement.

The latest onslaught on benefits from the Tories signals Mr Sunak and his Government actually continue to believe forcing the economically inactive back to work is a solution to the UK labour market woes. The press release observed “there are more than 450,000 people who have been unemployed for six months and well over a quarter of a million who have been unemployed for 12 months”.

The country is in the grip of a skills and labour shortages crisis which has been exacerbated enormously by Brexit.

However, given the Tories have been wielding the stick of benefit cuts at the economically inactive for so long now to such little effect, you would have thought they might have gathered this is no kind of solution at all to the labour market woes.

Crucially, from a societal perspective, it is high time they realised many people have very good reason for being economically inactive.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Victoria Atkins said: “We are seeking the advice of those who understand the system best so we can break down these unnecessary barriers to work. Through tailored care and reasonable adjustments, we can build a healthier workforce for a healthier economy.”

The Conservatives are in fantasy land on this front.

And the reality of the situation is clear.

The Tories fuelled the skills and labour shortages crisis greatly with their hard Brexit and the ending of free movement of people between the UK and European Economic Area.

Rejoining the single market and regaining this great advantage would be a simple way to alleviate the UK’s labour and skills shortages and boost the economy’s growth potential.

Sadly, the Conservatives will not do this, and there is no sign that Labour will either.

Talking of being oblivious to economic realities, Lord Frost really outdid himself in his testimony about Brexit to the House of Commons Business and Trade Committee last week.

Committee chairman Liam Byrne kicked off the questions last Tuesday by asking Lord Frost: “Are you pleased with the way trade has progressed since Brexit?”

Lord Frost replied: “Yes, I think is the short answer, because I think all those who predicted a dramatic change in our trade and a dramatic turn for the worse have been proved wrong.”

This response was entirely predictable, but it was lamentable nonetheless.

Lord Frost went on to dispute the independent Office for Budget Responsibility’s estimate of the economic damage from Brexit.

And he flagged the change of administration in the US as a reason for the Conservatives failing to meet their target of having 80% of the country’s trade covered by free trade agreements post-Brexit.

On this lack of a US trade deal, Mr Byrne posed the question: “If President Trump is re-elected in the United States, does that change the dynamics and the possibilities?”

Lord Frost replied: “I think it does…What I have heard from US Republicans at least is that we shouldn’t assume…President Trump’s general scepticism about free trade would necessarily be an insuperable obstacle to a UK-US deal but of course I can’t speak for them.”

The fact remains, however, that even a comprehensive US trade deal would deliver very small benefits relative to the damage from the loss of frictionless trade with the EEA.

What the latest outpourings from Mr Sunak and Lord Frost make clear is this is a Government that is hidebound by ideology.

It is difficult not to form the impression that cold economic realities for UK businesses and households, and living standards, are far less of a priority for Lord Frost and Mr Sunak.