DIVORCE is a painful and difficult process. It often involves disentangling years of co-operative activity, that is, making a home, rearing children and working together to create a safe and stable future for them.

Sometimes it is necessary to end a marriage and sometimes this happens in a positive and constructive way.

However, such an outcome requires maturity, wisdom and an ability to appreciate the consequences of ending the union for everyone involved.

As someone who worked in the field of divorce and family dispute for many years, I am all too aware of the situations in which none of the above happen.

Despite their best efforts, one party typically descends into fantasising about the clean break, projecting his or her own shortcoming onto a partner, not thinking through the years of ongoing negotiation that will be needed over shared interests, depleting hard won family resources in fighting disputes in the courts, and, worst of all, leaving children with an awful inheritance of bitterness, conflict and divided loyalty.

In as much as Brexit is like the dismantling of a long established marriage it looks like we are not in the first scenario but very much into the second.

We could have left the EU in a positive way but we have been dragged into the messiest of messy divorces. Sadly, I think Michel Barnier was right, there should be a special place in hell for those who took us into Brexit without a clue as to how we were going to achieve its goals. Without a radical change of direction it is difficult to see how we, or rather our children, will not end up paying the price, both economically and in terms of our sense of national well-being, for years to come. The way we are heading the only people who will do well from this mess will be the currency speculators, the asset strippers, the hedge fund managers and the mortgage repossession companies.

Bob Simpson, Esh Winning