THIS UK Government seems to be developing a real habit of presenting economic and political crises as commonplace, mundane even.

There has been (another) classic, although again perturbing, instance of this in recent days.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox declared – matter-of-factly and seemingly without any worries about the economic implications of what he was telling us was likely – that there was now a 60-40 chance of a no-deal Brexit.

Probably no one should be surprised we have got to a position where some believe an exit from the European Union without an agreement on a future relationship on trade and other key issues – to mitigate the (undoubted) damage to the economy and society from leaving the bloc – is more likely than not.

After all, a divided Conservative Government, one which is firmly in the grip of the Brexiters, was probably always unlikely to go out of its way to reach a cordial and constructive deal on a future relationship with the EU. Especially given some politicians appear more interested in furthering their own careers or egos, pursuing their entrenched ideologies, or pandering to the intolerance of some of the Brexit voters on immigration than in what is good for the UK and its citizens.

However, while Dr Fox appears as happy as ever that Brexit is going to make Blighty mighty again, even as the evidence to the contrary mounts in an alarming manner, financial markets certainly took a different view from him when they re-opened on Monday. Reacting to Dr Fox’s comments, published on Sunday, sterling plunged to an 11-month low against the US greenback, dropping below $1.30. It dropped further, below $1.29, on Wednesday, when the euro rose above 90p for the first time since last autumn on the back of sterling’s latest woes.

Dr Fox should sit up and take note of what the financial markets have been telling us since the Brexit vote in June 2016. Remember: sterling was trading close to $1.50 on June 23, 2016, ahead of the EU referendum result.

What such financial market movements have been telling everyone, including Dr Fox, is that the Brexit decision means much-diminished economic prospects for the UK even with an exit deal. Sterling’s move following Dr Fox’s comments highlights the fact that a no-deal scenario would make the damage, which will be major and lasting in any case, a whole lot worse.

Sterling’s plunge since the Brexit vote makes clear the extent of the economic and political crises facing the UK. However, the Brexiters just keep on smiling.

Everywhere you look, the damage which is being and will be done to the UK from exiting the EU is evident.

We have had news this week that financial sector salaries in Dublin are booming as the Republic of Ireland gains employment from the UK because of Brexit. Given Ireland’s EU membership, it is no surprise global financial firms are being attracted to it for post-Brexit hubs.

Strathclyde University’s highly regarded Fraser of Allander Institute has this week highlighted the grim consequences of a no-deal scenario.

It said: “A ‘hard Brexit’ – and a movement to WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules – would be the worst of all outcomes for Scotland’s economy. Our estimates suggest a significant negative hit to Scotland’s long-term economic output and jobs compared to a scenario where the UK remained in the EU.”

Fraser of Allander added: “The reality of a ‘no deal’ scenario is beginning to hit home, with talk of food shortages, drug stockpiles and log-jams at the border. Whilst some of this is likely to be overblown, such issues will be the unfortunate reality of the UK crashing out of the EU.”

And its newly published findings of a survey of around 350 businesses conducted this summer highlight the negative impact the Brexit vote has already had on Scottish businesses.

Asked about the impact of the Brexit decision, to date, on their business, 44 per cent of firms cited a “negative change” with only 6% declaring there had been a positive effect. The remainder said there had been no change.

And, asked for their opinion on whether there was adequate information available to enable their business to plan for different potential outcomes of the Brexit negotiations, 75% of survey respondents said “no”. Only 13% said “yes”, with the remainder declaring they did not know.

A poll by ORB International showed this week that less than one-quarter of UK voters now approve of Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of the Brexit negotiations.

Sadly, however, many Brexit voters’ appetite for leaving the EU remains strong, regardless of both the fact the Leave vote has has already hit their living standards hard, through the likes of an inflation spike fuelled by sterling’s weakness, and the inevitability there is much worse to come in terms of the UK’s already lamentable economic situation.

However, reading a feature from Reuters about views from the English “rust belt”, people still seem to believe the EU is somehow at fault for what has become of such areas.

However, the troubles of such places have nothing to do with the EU. The roots of their problems lie in Margaret Thatcher’s dismantling of much of the UK’s heavy industry.

And, in the last eight years, these places have been hammered by the Conservatives’ savage austerity programme. They have been laid low by cuts in welfare, a grim squeeze on public spending, regressive increases in value-added tax, and the UK’s extremely poor macroeconomic performance.

Meanwhile, Labour does not seem to be communicating effectively enough to people in such areas, or to others for that matter, that it is not the fault of the EU. Maybe it is wary of losing the support of Brexiters?

That said, we must not forget that the current economic and political crises in the UK are, purely and simply, the creation of the Conservatives. There was no need for the Brexit referendum in the first place. And the situation since the Brexit vote, while not at all amusing in terms of its terrible impact on people’s living standards, is making a laughing stock of the UK.

All the while, Scotland faces the prospect of leaving the EU against the wishes of its electorate.