WE’VE had a couple of days now to come to terms with the reality we all hoped we’d never face. As Theresa May left Downing Street and Boris Johnson was whisked off to kiss hands at Buck House, I felt much as I did when the 2016 EU referendum result came in. Both events felt slightly unreal, like a page from dystopian fiction was coming true.

As the new Prime Minister’s Cabinet appointments were revealed, the few moments of light relief (poor David Mundell!) were no real compensation for the dawning reality of what was happening. The UK now has its most severely right-wing Government ever … and I say this as someone who grew up under Thatcherism.

This is a Government with a Home Secretary who supports capital punishment; a Foreign Secretary who insists we turn a blind eye to state murder and keep supplying arms to Saudi Arabia; a Heath Secretary who has taken tens of thousands of pounds from the chair of an anti-NHS lobby group; and an International Trade Secretary who has built close links with the most extreme of the US libertarian free-market ideologues.

That’s before we even consider the Prime Minister himself. I don’t need to run through the litany of racist, xenophobic or homophobic statements he has made. I don’t need to remind you of the lies he has told. I don’t need to remind you of his entitled, privileged background or the free pass he has been given time and time again when his actions have harmed other people or fallen short of even the Tory Party’s woefully low standards.

No, beyond any of these specifics is a wider truth. What Boris Johnson and his new Cabinet represent was summed up this week by Tory commentator Tim Montgomerie, who said: “Delivering Brexit isn’t just about delivering Brexit anymore. It’s a culture war.”

He’s right. There is now no denying that Brexit is what it always was – a hard-right project to reshape the UK according to the fever dreams of the Tufton Street disaster capitalists. Which is ironic given that the first day of this new Government saw temperature records broken in the UK, and across Europe. The biggest disaster we’re facing is the one being created by the economic model these ideologues worship – the climate emergency is being driven by free-market capitalism, and those hardest lobbying against meaningful action are the new Prime Minister’s biggest fans.

Over the course of the Tory leadership contest, many people raised the question of legitimacy, pointing out how few and how unrepresentative of the public the Tory membership are. When challenged on this in Parliament, Johnson pointed out that other leaders have come to power without a General Election, and in making that defence he cited Nicola Sturgeon. That was misleading in a very telling way. Because while she did indeed become her party leader without a contest, the modern democratic nature of Holyrood meant that she had to win a vote in Parliament before becoming First Minister. Westminster, and the unaccountable relationship between UK Government and monarchy meant that no such requirement faced Johnson before he strolled into Number 10.

However, none of this helps to answer the question we now face. What do we do? How do we deal with the reality of the threat this Government poses?

It’s a question many in the US faced when they, too, had to come to terms with the face that the unthinkable had happened and that Trump was their president.

Trump’s deliberate comparison of Boris Johnson to himself may have been intended to be as shallow and provocative as everything else he says, and Johnson has clearly not been comfortable with the association. While the two are not a perfect match for one another, the parallels are there.

Both have a lack of consistent, long-standing political principle; their egos being bigger than anything else in their respective worldviews. Both are now aligned, even if only out of political calculation, with economic nationalism.

Both have a long record of racist comments, and of working actively with far-right figures such as Steve Bannon. Both have indulged in, or actively cultivated, conspiracy theory. Both have a relationship to the truth which would strain the limits of parliamentary language. And both rely on rhetoric when reality becomes too difficult; “Britain’s best days lie ahead of us” is just Boris’s version of “Make America great again”.

As we dig in to defend the public interest against the inevitable assault, and even as we prepare the necessary escape route for Scotland away from this broken UK, we must not abandon those in the rest of these islands to the fate Boris Johnson has in store for them. Rather we must constantly renew and strengthen our bonds of solidarity with those who want to oppose this hard-right agenda, whether here at home, in the rest of the UK, or in the wider world.