EYES glinting, bright smile cracking her enamel, Priti Patel basked in applause from an audience whose rights she was pledging to end.

Hooh-rah, clapped the Tory faithful as Ms Patel promised to make it that much harder for their children to take a European gap yah, for them to enjoy a second home in Tuscany and for the party's young to spend long weekends in Marbella.

Ending British citizens' automatic rights to live, work, study or retire in any of 27 EU countries might at least be met with muted pleasure. You know, scrapping our easy ability to move for love, reunite families, make better lives, reap all the many benefits of travel.

Never mind, eh? It's worth the sacrifice to ensure we take back control of Britain's borders.

Ms Patel will end freedom of movement "for once and for all", she told the Conservative party conference in Manchester with no little smugness, adding that instead of free movement the government would introduce an Australian-style points based immigration system.

She was serene in her hypocrisy, speaking also of the Conservatives as a party of law and order just days after the prime minister's prorogation of parliament was ruled unlawful. She praised an immigration system that, it has been suggested, would have prevented her own family from migrating to Britain.

But then, a points-based system would mean no Ms Patel as Home Secretary. Perhaps there's something in it after all.

Tough on immigration, tough on the causes of immigration. Because, let's face it, immigrants come to Britain seeking a better life and our post-Brexit future offers only grim uncertainty. Cunning.

Let us also glide over the fact Labour set up an Australian-style points-based immigration system, which was then scrapped in 2011 because the people it admitted were not finding skilled work.

And isn't that the whole point? That instead of the spectre of hyper-fertile brown people who abuse the benefits system to live in eight-bedroomed mansions, we only let in Mensa-accredited grafters who eat PhDs for breakfast and will single-handedly boost GDP to record levels. Can't do that if you're unemployed.

It was faintly amusing, if you like your amusement with a side order of alarm, that Ms Patel's announcement that Britain will make its borders more hostile came as Saudi Arabia announced plans to make the country more welcoming to foreigners with the introduction of tourist visas.

At the anniversary of the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi government staff, when homosexuality is still punishable by death and when women suffer under severe restrictions of their rights, appearing less welcoming to outsiders than Saudi Arabia is certainly a look. Not a good one.

Tourists looking to take the Kingdom up on its offer will have to balance shining a light on injustices thriving under isolation with giving money to a government that will use it for nefarious purposes.

Back to Ms Patel who, at least, is consistent, having first called for an Australian-style points based system three years ago. Her pledge now to press on with such a system - and we don't know how it will look as we are several months away from a Migration Advisory Committee review of how the system would work - stands in contrast to last December's more liberal white paper on immigration from Sajid Javid.

Promising an Australian-style system indicates new government plans will be harsher than those announced under a year ago.

"Australian-style" seems to have become synonymous with "hard-line" for politicians looking to appease voters on the topic of immigration. Donald Trump, as another example, also pledged an Australian-style points based system to his electorate to tighten up America's borders.

People have the impression of the Australian system as being tough. This has perhaps become increasingly the case because of its stance on asylum seekers - the horrific conditions imposed on refugees in the now closed Nauru and Manus Island offshore processing camps, part of the defunct Pacific Solution.

The notion aping Australia will clamp down on migration is an interesting take given that the Australian system was designed to increase levels of immigration to the country. Scaled up, it would have the effect of allowing in far more new residents to the UK than our current systems.

So, what Ms Patel is pledging is to end freedom of movement yet introduce an immigration system that invites a high level of migrants to the country. The difference being, of course, that it will allow in the "right sort" of migrants, the "best and brightest".

Out of interest, I totted up my points and wouldn't have enough to be welcome in Australia. Bit of a bummer to reduce your social and economic worth to hard figures and find out one is not the best or brightest.

One of the criticisms of the Australian system is that it is too white. A focus on English proficiency prioritises those from countries where English is a first language, unlike the Canadian system which is also points based but encourages multi-culturalism.

Another of the oft-discussed elements of the Australian system is that it allows people to migrate without first having work, an element that has its pluses - people are not tied to one employer, say, and can move jobs more easily - but also its downsides, in that new residents do not always find employment.

Australia is now increasingly moving away from this system, allowing employers to offer visas to skilled migrants as well as using its points system.

Reducing immigration and ending free movement will harm the UK economy and our society, particularly the NHS and universities. We've heard enough about the benefits migrants bring to the country to know this. Yet there seems a real lack of meaningful discussion about migration, only hard-line promises to drastically reduce immigration or complaints that politicians have broken their promises.

It seems to be overlooked that while people come in, people also go out. Ending free movement is an act of self-harm based on unfounded suspicion of migrants stoked by an aggressively divisive political class. There is no concrete evidence that a points-based system - which has been discussed for years across political parties - will be the right step for Britain.

Instead, the phrase has become a posturing shorthand for a politician pretending to crack the whip on immigration. It is an empty pledge, its only meaning to reassure those made insecure and fearful by immigration that Britain will be callous to outsiders.

Priti Patel's narrative is a dog-whistle, blaming immigrants for Britain's problems in lieu of accepting how much damage is of her own party's making.