BORIS is down. Boy is he down. Network BBC TV may not acknowledge the singular role played by Joanna Cherry, but every fair-minded person in the UK knows her tenacity, legal knowledge, belief in democracy and ability to attract cross-party support are the only reasons the House of Commons was sitting yesterday.

Her team made sure the Court of Session judges saw an email exchange that proved Boris had been planning to suspend Parliament weeks before announcing his “Queen’s Speech is sae difficult” wheeze. It was this crucial evidence of bad faith that prompted the Edinburgh judges to declare his suspension unlawful and gave the Supreme Court no option but to follow suit.

Boris finally stumbled into the Commons last night – as boorish and defiant as usual, but looking jet-lagged and evidently struggling.

All because one independence-supporting MP could see what her more numerous, better-funded, Unionist colleagues could not. A way to act instead of just marking time. Perhaps that comes from a life of refusing to accept the deadening status quo of British politics. Joanna Cherry and her SNP colleagues spend life on the front foot.

At last, their constancy and purposefulness is reaping rewards in the court of Scottish public opinion. No wonder. It was quite a result.

READ MORE: Eight weeks of chaos: a recap of Boris Johnson's reign so far

Since the Court of Session’s bold stand, there’s been a frisson of pride that our courts were quite prepared to ruffle southern feathers in their determination to guarantee fair play. And a bit of surprise. Most of us regard the beaks as an innately conservative bunch – part of a well-heeled establishment whose instincts are to maintain the status quo. But that was wrong. The three Scottish judges weren’t siding with Remain against Leave, Scotland against England or independence against the Union. They simply applied the standards of Scots law and didnae waver.

But there was no expectation the court in the Big Smoke would back them up. Partly, the result of bitter experience. Partly, pessimism after the earlier verdict of the lesser London court. But mostly, the expectation derived from decades following the Beautiful Game. Invariably, Scotland surprise for one game, only to fail spectacularly in the next. But not this time. Just for one glorious and all-important occasion, Scottish values managed to prevail twice in as many weeks.

Boris was hoiked back from Washington – though of course he softened the blow by taking the 7000-mile round trip in a private 335-seater jet. Nae rubbing with the unwashed for oor Boris.

Parliament was reconvened. The Tory Government – which had seen no need for the Commons to sit – suddenly discovered the need to make statements on every issue from the collapse of Thomas Cook to Brexit readiness.

As a result, the unwavering, remain-supporting reputation of the SNP is up. Joanna Cherry’s personal standing is up. And Boris is down.

But he ain’t out.

And that’s why the SNP leadership needs to galvanise the opposition once again.

No opposition party except the SNP seems ready to put Boris out of his misery, call his bluff and vote for the no-confidence motion the Government looks set to table today.

Of course, Labour, the LibDems and various constellations of Tory rebels have called for the disgraced Tory leader to resign. But unless the Labour Party tables a vote of no confidence or backs the Government’s motion, Boris will stay on, shaken but only mildly stirred by the legal events of this week. And if he stays on, he could conceivably get a deal before October 31 and portray himself as the saviour of the Leave-voting majority in the “Parliament versus the People” General Election that will inevitably follow.

The National: Boris Johnson leaving Heathrow Airport for the UN General Assembly in New York

Yes, that seems an extraordinary claim given that till recently, no talks, papers or ideas have been forthcoming from any part of the UK Government. But while Johnson was hogging the headlines in Washington, more significant talks were happening closer to home between the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the DUP leader Arlene Foster. It looks as if the Ulster Unionist leader – rattled by Brexit fury within the loyalist business and farming community – may finally be ready to consider the solution suggested years ago by the EU itself.

Namely, that the backstop (preventing a hard border in Ireland) should apply only to Northern Ireland, creating a border in the Irish Sea rather than the Irish mainland. Theresa May baulked at this in 2017, saying Northern Ireland couldn’t have different customs rules to the rest of the UK and British citizens in Northern Ireland couldn’t face the ignominy of standing in the same “non-UK” queues as Irish citizens in British ports and airports. The DUP’s neurotic, intransigent reaction was always given a credence it never deserved simply because of the party’s role shoring up the Tories’ wafer-thin majority. But thanks to Boris Johnson’s recent Night of the Long Knives, those DUP votes are now less important.

READ MORE: Majority of Scots want Boris Johnson to resign

Shifting the border to the Irish Sea would rightly allow Nicola Sturgeon to ask why remaining inside the EU customs union and single market isn’t an option for this Remain-voting nation too. Furthermore, making frictionless trade across the Irish border more important than trade with rUK only strengthens the case for Irish re-unification. But Britain rarely worries about the long-term and political survival is a more immediate priority.

Of course, even if a shifting DUP allows Boris Johnson to opt for an Irish Sea border, there are still big problems.

Firstly, the EU will be wary about handing control over goods reaching the EU to Britain when its rules and standards may quickly diverge from EU norms post-Brexit.

Secondly, the Irish backstop is just the most obvious problem with Theresa May’s old deal and the easiest to scapegoat. If the Irish border issue is resolved, the next big problem will take centre stage – the fact that it is impossible for Britain to have “frictionless” EU trade without single market and customs union membership. So, a hard truth remains.

Even if a No-Deal Brexit is averted and Boris brings a Theresa May Plus deal back to Parliament at the eleventh hour, even if it gets the backing of a terrified DUP, even if it gets the backing of the EU and Leo Varadkar as the best of a bad job, a slightly rehashed version of Theresa May’s rubbish Brexit still spells isolationist disaster for Scotland and Britain, and allows Boris to style himself as the Caped Brexit Crusader, finally managing to do the impossible and get Britain out of the EU before Hallowe’en with a deal.

There is an alternative to the groundhog weeks that beckon, as a feart opposition lets Boris Johnson run down the clock while he freshens up Theresa May’s old deal.

The bold course for the SNP is to encourage action today by supporting a vote of no confidence and participating in the creation of a caretaker Government (led by Jeremy Corbyn or whoever). That caretaker government can spend a week ensuring the Benn Bill prohibiting a No-Deal Brexit is actually watertight, before announcing the date of a General Election in six weeks’ time and simultaneously applying to the EU for a three-month extension (or longer if the EU desires it) to enable that election to take place. The SNP should request a Section 30 order from that caretaker Government – if it’s accepted, great. If it’s refused, the forthcoming election offers Scots the chance to show they want the right to hold a second independence referendum when the time is deemed right by our Scottish Government.

The election will be fought in England on the shades of Brexit grey presented by Westminster’s Unionist parties and in Scotland on a platform of independence.

So, it ain’t over. If the SNP can stay nimble on its collective feet and take advantage of the leadership role Joanna Cherry’s intervention has bestowed on Scots, the Brexit crisis can yet have a resolution that allows Scotland to progress towards a far better future.

Will the party grasp the thistle?