It was the perfect metaphor for Brexit. Danish sperm could be kept out of Britain, according to the UK government last week, as EU regulations governing fertility clinics lapse. About time too. Free movement of semen, like the polluting stream of EU regulations, has clearly undermined national virility. Indolent British manhood needs to step up and fill the sperm gap by our own hands.

Welcome to Brexit Britain: not just lorry parks at Dover, but sperm banks at Zeebrugge. Stock-piling of medicines is not necessary, said the Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, unveiling the first of the “technical papers” on preparations for a no-deal Brexit. But, er, pharmaceutical companies should to lay in six weeks' supply just in case. Small businesses are advised to hire a legion of accountants and logistics experts to manage the new regulatory and tariff barriers. Trade with Ireland? Dunno, mate: contact the Irish for that.

Britons abroad may have to pay increased charges on credit cards. Daily Mail-reading expats in sunny Spain could lose access to their pensions, which some might see as poetic justice. Banks and financial services companies will be unable to operate as they do at present and the government has advised them to set up subsidiaries in the EU. Jacob Rees Mogg's wealth management company has already been there, done that.

Raab's was only the first of the technical papers the UK government plans to publish on the implications of no-deal Brexit. It was designed to calm fears of civil disturbance and food shortages. “You'll still be able to enjoy a BLT sandwich,” he said. But it didn't work. Newspaper headlines reported “rip-off bank charges” and 9,000 more Brexit civil servants. It all looked bit Dad's Army, as if we're heading for a war without casualties. Who do you think you are kidding Mr Barnier if you think we'll pay 40 billion euros and let you annex Northern Ireland.

Of course, Raab insisted that the disruption and red tape would only happen under a “no-deal scenario”, which the British government is confident will never happen. But this is disingenuous. The whole point of Brexit was to leave the Customs Union and the European Single Market. That means, by definition, that Britain becomes a third country and under the laws of the hallowed World Trade Organisation, has to become subject to the same rules and terms of trade that the EU applies to other countries. That means tariffs, non-tariff barriers, sanitary and phytosanitary checks and regulatory divergence. It's what we voted for – well, around half of UK voters.

Last week's exercise was also part of the British government's attempt to place the blame for Brexit on the EU, as if it's all their fault that we're leaving the biggest and most comprehensive free trading bloc on the planet. The disruption, bureaucracy and expense of Brexit is not the consequence of this act of wilful self-harm, but punishment inflicted on us by Brussels. Perhaps that's what many people already believe.

They've already accepted the current costs of Brexit with remarkable equanimity. There seems to be a widespread assumption that Project Fear – the claims made before the 2016 referendum about the damage Brexit might inflict – was disproved by events. That it was all a Remaniac scare story. In fact, the forecasts made by the Treasury and others turned out to be uncharacteristically accurate.

The then Chancellor, George Osborne, forecast in 2016 that Britain would lose 6% of GDP by 2030 and that British families would be worse off by £4,300. It was of course daft to put a cash figure on the loss, but the reality is that we are already well on the way to seeing Project Fear fulfilled. The Bank of England confirmed in May that the UK had already lost 2% in predicted growth, and 4% from family incomes. This amounts to some £900 per family. And that's in only 2 years.

It is an extraordinary story, really: a kind of reverse Fake News. Instead of people being led to believe something false, the public appear not to believe something that is actually true. Perhaps the Russians have been fiddling with out brains again. Or maybe we just have a higher tolerance for hardship when it's self-inflicted.

Families are worse off because inflation has picked up while wages have continued to stagnate. Food price inflation is largely a result of the 20% devaluation of the pound – not far short of the collapse of the Turkish lira – which makes imports more expensive. Our wilting wages are largely a result of poor productivity, faltering inward investment and a general lack of confidence in the economy because of – well – Brexit. The UK economy has been growing – albeit slowly. The point is that it would have grown much faster had Brexit not happened. We have squandered the best years of the global economic recovery.

The current chancellor, Philip Hammond, aroused fury from the Moggists last week by adding that government borrowing will have to increase by £80bn by 2033 as a result of a no deal Brexit. By no deal, he means if Theresa May's Chequers proposal for Britain to retain access to the single market in goods is rejected by Brussels – which it already has been. The idea that the UK could collect customs duties for goods coming from abroad but heading for the EU is a non-starter. The EU cannot legally allow a country that is outside the EU Customs Union to collect revenues on its behalf.

So, a no deal Brexit is not just a remote possibility; it is an imminent reality. It is what Brexit means. There may be some kind of a deal struck in November that covers the divorce bill and secures the rights of EU citizens in the UK, but the prospects for any kind of settled deal on future trade is vanishingly small, as the International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, has conceded.

Tory Brexiteers don't really want a Chequers-style deal anyway. They believe it would entangle the UK in all the rules and regulations of the European Single Market. They want to liberate chlorinated chickens and hormone-fed beef from Brussels red tape. Theresa May's suggestion that Britain might accept rulings from the European Court of Justice, without being formally under its jurisdiction, was acceptable to Brussels. But it was a recipe for “vassalage” according to Jacob Rees Mogg.

The hard Brexiteers number only about 40 or so right wing Tory MPs, but they are within an ace of achieving their dream. This is to turn Britain into a low-cost, low-regulation, low-wage Singapore which will flood the EU with cheap exports. They think voters will accept this insecure future because they'll be compensated in the form of cheap food from Africa and Latin America which will arrive in Britain without having to pay the tariffs charged by the EU or meet its environmental standards.

It will be a remarkable free market experiment – resembling the economic policies of 1970s Chile, but without the Junta. Few people in Britain would willingly vote for it. But we'd better suck it up because in the eyes of Brexit Tories, we already have.