STUDENTS of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four are familiar with the concepts of Newspeak and Doublethink. Together they also led to Doublespeak. All of these words talk to the manipulation of language to deliberately obscure, disguise and distort truth.

We live in odd times. Crass misrepresentation and Doublespeak are everywhere. The latest creation of its genus is the “deal dividend” promised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond in his Spring Statement yesterday:

He said: “If we leave the EU with a deal, and an orderly transition to a future economic partnership, we will see a deal dividend – an economic boost from a recovery in business confidence and investment and a fiscal boost from a reduction in the minimum necessary level of fiscal headroom once the risk of a no-deal exit is removed.”

This reminded me of my old primary school teacher Miss Fraser. A fearsome woman with hair in a bun and a number of strategic facial warts. She ruled the P6 roost with a loud holler that failed to disguise a deeply loving eye and heart and a total focus on us Lanarkshire kids under her charge. I loved her.

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Once, as we were all reading some book or other quietly, she announced to the class: “Teaching you lot is like banging your head off a brick wall, it’s great when it stops.”

I was barely 10, but I still giggle when I think on that.

Hammond borrows from Miss Fraser in his concept. We are to believe that having banged our collective head off the brick wall of Brexit, we are to rejoice in the benefits of stopping. Or, in reality, not stopping at all. In fact, quite the reverse of stopping. We are to rejoice that we will gain from banging our head off a completely different bit of the wall in a slightly less aggressive manner. If a no-deal exit is running headlong into the edge of the brick, the May deal is just a canter straight into its centre.

Am I labouring this analogy to death? I think I may be.

Nonetheless, the truth is we cannot celebrate that we shall boil the economy to a cinder at a marginally different pace than if we simply set fire to it. All forms of Brexit are self-harm. And, of course, it bears repeating, all of them are against the democratically expressed will of the people of Scotland.

And since the whole fandango was sold on the back of no prospectus and no clear sense of the chaos that ensued, it is also clear that a majority across the UK no longer want it. Since the beginning of 2018 there have been 121 polls and in only three of those have a majority backed “Leave”.

And this is only the beginning. Whether we fall out of the door with no deal, agree the calamitous May deal, or delay in the hope of divine intervention, public opinion will harden, especially in Scotland.

The draft tariff schedule published by the government is a sobering read. Cars penalised 10% and even the humble tin of tuna a whopping 24%. There is something more than fishy about all of this.

And this is only the beginning of so many ends.