WHEN it comes to Boris Johnson and his utterances, it seems that it is opposite day most days. However, he really, really outdid himself on this front with his speech on Wednesday night to launch the Conservative election campaign. On so, so many things.

If the situation were less grave, the effrontery might almost have been comical. However, given the UK’s sorry predicament, it was impossible to dispel feelings of extreme irritation and mild alarm on watching video footage of the launch. The alarm would seem likely to intensify if Mr Johnson secures the working majority he so craves. The speech also provided plenty of room for dismay. It was a masterclass in form over substance, something Mr Johnson and his adviser Dominic Cummings have proved depressingly adept at in recent months.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: East Renfrewshire Tory MP ignores Brexit economics to point at SNP

The Get Brexit Done-obsessed Mr Johnson declared: “Let’s make 2020 about the people of this country and not about its politicians. Let’s get out of the rut of the last three years...Let’s get Brexit done my friends.”

The man has surely got his cause and effect firmly the wrong way around.

It is Brexit which has put the UK in its "rut". The delivery of Brexit will turn the rut that the UK is in into a deep hole. A predicament that will ensure the economy’s progress is hampered over years and decades to come, by the effects of the loss of the single-market benefits of free movement of labour and frictionless trade.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Boris Johnson acts the goat on Brexit as the grim cost keeps on rising

The way for the UK to get out of the rut it is in, as it should be plain for all to see, is to abandon the Brexit folly altogether.

If this cannot be achieved, endless Brexit delay would be better than Mr Johnson’s hard-exit deal. That is to say that staying in the rut would, of course, be better than opening up a deep hole.

The way things are at the moment, the only hope of getting out of the rut and avoiding the deep hole Mr Johnson’s hard-Brexit deal would create is for the Conservatives to fail to get a majority at next month’s General Election.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Paris metro poster for slapstick British farce evokes Brexit metaphor

Returning to Mr Johnson’s opposites, it is worth examining his comment about making 2020 “about the people of this country and not about its politicians”. You would imagine that living standards would, surely, be crucial in considering how best to look after the people.

Under Theresa May, the Conservative Government published forecasts showing the major damage that would be done to the UK economy from leaving the European single market. You would not imagine even Mr Johnson could disagree with the fact that economic performance affects living standards. So it is therefore impossible to reconcile his soundbite about making 2020 “about the people” with his declaration that he would achieve such an aim by getting Brexit done.

He also talked about “spreading hope and opportunity across the whole of the UK” in the context of achieving his Brexit. It was difficult to tell if this was aimed at getting a rise out of the electorate in Scotland, which voted firmly to remain in the European Union in the 2016 referendum. Whether or not this was the aim, it is a comment likely to make many people in Scotland justifiably annoyed.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: No escape from Johnson’s dire Brexit farce in Paris metro and airport

Of course, Remainers right across the UK are absolutely entitled to be annoyed at this declaration that Brexit can result in some outbreak of “hope and opportunity”, given such an assertion flies in the face of all reason. We also had the jam-tomorrow message in Mr Johnson’s speech, with his “let’s unleash the potential of this country” slogan. It is interesting that, for more than three years, the Brexiters have been unable to offer anything concrete in terms of these supposed big new trade deals that were going to so propel Blighty.

It is also noteworthy the narrative has changed. Having failed to show any benefits of Brexit, the Leave brigade has given up even trying to do so. Now its members talk about magical things happening after Brexit is done. One wonders how, given no benefits have shown up in more than three years, there is going to be anything other than even-greater misery facing a post-Brexit UK. So much for making 2020 about the people (and let us not forget that millions of the UK electorate have for nearly a decade borne the brunt of the savage Tory austerity programme).

The Conservatives have mismanaged the UK economy spectacularly since coming to power in 2010, at that stage with Liberal Democrat support.

Yet Mr Johnson told his audience: “We have taken the tough decisions to restore public finances…We have managed the economy well. We have got nine years of uninterrupted growth.”

UK economic output fell in the second quarter, the latest period for which figures are available. And public sector net debt has rocketed to around £1.8 trillion, as the Tory plan has failed to produce convincing economic growth.

Mr Johnson, seemingly keen to pepper his speech with wisecracks, tried to draw an analogy between a bendy bus jackknifed on a yellow-box junction and the impact of the delay to Brexit.

And he declared: “This Parliament just refuses to get Brexit done. That is bad for our country.”

Quite the opposite, Mr Johnson. Parliament has protected the UK’s economy and society by pulling the reins on those hell-bent on Brexit at any cost. In doing this, MPs are doing exactly what they should be doing.

Sadly, Mr Johnson does not agree.

The view he was peddling to the Tory faithful in his speech was as follows: “On day one of the new Parliament in December, we will start getting our new deal through so we get Brexit done in January and put the uncertainty behind us.” Rubbish. What getting Brexit done would actually mark, given Mr Johnson’s departure is all about leaving the single market and cutting immigration, would be a great intensification of the uncertainty as he tries to throw together a deal on a future relationship with the EU that would be far inferior to what we have right now.

And this remains a huge problem with the perilous Johnson-Cummings’ message. They are keen to make the electorate believe that Brexit will be the end of the problems, rather than marking the start of the real difficulties that would blight the UK for years and decades.