It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the United Kingdom, a once clear-minded and largely unified nation, is engaged in a process of self-harm over the issue of Brexit.

So great have the irreconcilable political divisions become, that potentially under threat is the Union that brings Scotland and Northern Ireland together with England and Wales; the country’s long-standing centrist consensus; the UK’s future economic stability; and the fairness and rationality in public life personified by its non-political civil service.

In the last few days, the publication of a draft exit treaty and a short, vaguely worded separate document on the post 2020 relationship with the EU27 have created political turmoil of a kind not seen in British politics since the Suez crisis in 1956…..

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