LAST night, as Brexit careered quickly towards its inevitable No-Deal denouement, the goofy grin curled into a snarl. Perhaps it had always been there.

The incontinent whoosh of emails from the Downing Street bunker had one overriding purpose. Many had long come to understand that the Brexit negotiations were a fiction but while the UK Government continued to insist they were working on a deal (“always the preferred option”) there remained a bat-squeak of trust that perhaps they were indeed working to avoid a No-Deal scenario. Of course we knew the Brexit campaign had been built on deception and personal ambition. Surely though, an entire government wouldn’t participate in a fiction as prolonged and pre-meditated as this?

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Last night and this morning, Dominic Cummings and his glove-puppet Boris Johnson finally dispensed with the lie that they were genuinely seeking some kind of rapprochement with their “European friends”. The Downing Street memo to The Spectator magazine was effectively a briefing paper on how they intended to stitch up the usual suspects when the No-Deal chill begins to bite. The dodgy Europeans led by those perfidious Germans: tick; the bastard Irish again: tick; the liberal elites in parliament: tick.

The former Conservative home secretary, Amber Rudd, said that the contents of the memo and the crude threats to other EU countries should make the Government “ashamed”. These included the threat of refusing to work with EU countries who accept a delay by sending them to the back of the queue while those who opposed delay would be invited to the front.

No-Deal Brexit was effectively dead, it admitted; co-operation was “down the toilet” and the British parliament was “as popular as the clap”. Lest anyone was feeling left out of this internal axis of evil Cummings and Johnson (aka The Cabinet) are carefully constructing, elderly people marching about climate change were described as “unco-operative crusties” smelling of hemp.

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This burst of delinquency from the heart of the British Government immediately threw up some intriguing possibilities. If they’re on their toes and at the top of their game, the right-wing governments of Italy and Hungary could fill their jackboots here. As recent revelations have shown, Boris Johnson is partial to the promise of IT lessons while exchanging Shakespearian couplets with overseas entrepreneurs.

Far from being unbending and obstinate in his dealings with the American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, the Prime Minister of the UK has shown a readiness to be enthusiastic about making trade deals. In exchange for IT lessons Johnson was bountiful with his largesse. This included invitations to exclusive all-expenses-paid trade missions which led to more than £1 million of government grants.

The Hungarians and the Italians are keen to dispense with many of their immigrants. Now that they know how accommodating our PM is to the right sort of envoy, they simply need to ensure that their requests for favour are conveyed to him by blonde females working in their diplomatic corps. “How many immigrants would you be willing to accept from us, Mr Johnson? We could make it very worth your while.” Perhaps we could deport the gnarly and obstreperous tree-huggers and give their homes to the unwanted immigrants.

Former home secretary Rudd’s observations on the language coming out of No 10 might have resonated more deeply if they hadn’t come from the woman who played a major role in the hostile environment for West Indies immigrants. Indeed, there might still be a role for her inside the Cabinet in the immediate aftermath of a No-Deal Brexit.

The Prime Minister and Cummings are quite palpably seeking to create a new hostile environment. This time though, they seem willing to cast the net much wider, and Rudd might just be the woman to help them. She and her fellow Tory refuseniks might have seemed appalled at the Cummings/Johnson strategy. But have you ever met a Tory who doesn’t have a price? A Tory majority at the next General Election will bring more than a few temporary foes back into the fold.

Those European states who may feel tempted to come to the “front of the queue” for any Brexit trade deals ought to be wary. In the Cummings/Johnson regime this will merely mean not being targeted by the right-wing red-tops.

The new hostile environment will apply to three main target groups: The Germans, The French, The Irish (of course) and suspicious-looking OAPs holding advance rail savers to London when they ought to be at home watching Bargain Hunt. In time, the hostile environment will come to include those who are deemed to be fraternising with any of these existential “enemies of the people”.

We all suspected that George Orwell’s vison of the ultimate totalitarian state might one day materialise in the UK. In the end, he was just a generation out in his calculations.

It’s almost possible to empathise with Boris Johnson’s immediate predecessor here. No one can deny that Theresa May sincerely sought some kind of deal with the EU: this was etched all over her stretched and tormented features each time the Brexit-crazed extremists in her own party defenestrated her. Compared with her successor though, she is Mother Teresa (who being Albanian would also be considered part of the new axis of evil). The current Prime Minister, as the officially endorsed Downing Street memo revealed, never had any intention of trying to salvage any kind of deal with the EU.

You and I might have believed he had been outflanked by the Supreme Court rebellion last month; that the words “Can I seek an extension” would turn to ashes in his mouth. Now, it seems likely the decision to set aside the prorogation will become another weapon in his electoral armoury.

All dictators and demagogues need an imagined enemy to channel the mob’s grievances. Cummings and Johnson now have around half a dozen: the EU as a whole; Germany and France in particular; green codgerdom; the bastard Irish (of course); the rogue judiciary; and treacherous Oxford-educated liberals.

Cursory attempts to deny the direst consequences of Brexit ceased a long time ago. Even the BBC has given up trying to measure the effects of a worst-case Brexit. The Doomsday scenario is what Cummings, Johnson, Gove and Rees-Mogg were planning for all the while.

Why worry about trying to offset its consequences when you’ve successfully set up so many culprits? And isn’t it about time our armed forces got a wee adventure – it’s long overdue? By the right, forward MARCH: “Tiny bubbles in my beer, makes me happy and full of cheer …”