HAVE we reached peak tabloid Johnson yet? From challenging the law to telling porkies to the Queen , has our populist PM broken one taboo too many for the British public? Last week started with two different stories which in their own ways suggested strains between the Royal Family and the Prime Minister.

First it was suggested that the Queen herself had sought advice on how to sack Boris Johnson as PM after he was economical with the truth on prorogation. Then Prince Harry announced that his wife Meghan was suing the Mail on Sunday for its intrusive and malicious treatment of her. It would seem that the Royal Family is not amused by Johnson’s antics or his chief supporter in the tabloid press.

Johnson, of course, doesn’t care. He knows that his two-fingers to convention, his rule-breaking brass neck, his seat-of-pants politics is like catnip to a certain demographic.

Now we hear suggestions that he plans to return to the Queen cap-in-hand to ask for a further prorogation of Parliament. Something tells me that this bravado behaviour with the monarch may be a step too far, not just for the Queen herself but for many UK citizens.

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It would certainly be a big wake-up call for middle England and traditional Tory heartlands. If the Queen is seriously considering her options with an election on the horizon, would the country true-blue brigade follow suite? After all, if even the royals have had enough, what about the rest of us?

Undeterred, our new PM continues to act as if nothing is sacred. Outside the self-congratulatory Tory conference bubble, our political and media discourse is lolling like a drunk man in the gutter thanks to Johnson and his partner in crime, Dominic Cummings, and their strategy of antagonism, baiting and aggression.

This kind of shock-and-awe politics is borrowed heavily from a shadowy figure in Johnson’s life – one former Trump advisor and alt-right agitator, Steve Bannon. Bannon’s bahookie may be well out of the White House these days, but his malign influence in pushing beyond common decency has stretched across the Atlantic in his acquaintance with our PM.

It would seem that Johnson is quite the star pupil of the Bannon school of politics, with Cummings goading him to go further with each outrageous and boundary-breaking statement.

Before Johnson had wrestled control of the keys to number 10, an interview with Bannon and the BBC’s Jon Sopel was broadcast, full of “you-ain’t-seen-nothing-yet” threats to set an agenda of fear and anxiety, prepping the audience for the Brexit circus coming to town. Cue clown Johnson and evil ring-master Dominic Cummings, performing more and more far-fetched political acrobatics.

Just when you thought Johnson had gone too far with his “letterbox” insults about Muslim women, his “girly swot” slurs, his “humbugs” and “surrenders”, his sexual misdemeanours, he goes one step further.

In interviews he’s been using alt-right phraseology such as “deep-state” and “betrayal”. This is the Steve Bannon way. He pushed Trump to double down every time on controversial commentary on migrants and white supremacists, and he has probably advised Johnson to do the same.

From there it’s a natural line along to Cummings, who like Bannon cares little for political correctness, threatening MPs to expect death threats if they don’t vote his way on Brexit. Classic Bannon has become classic Dom, to borrow from the excellent John Crace at the Guardian.

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However in their dynamic focus-group get-togethers Cummings and Johnson didn’t bank on the courage of the litigants who took their cases to the Supreme Court.

Nor did Bannon, because there’s a big difference between the UK and America that he neglected to factor into his populist takeover. In the UK, we have an independent judicial system, free of party politics and affiliation, unlike the system in the United States where Trump lapdogs such as the deplorable Brett Kavanaugh sit in the highest court in the land.

The National: Steve Bannon has had less luck in EuropeSteve Bannon has had less luck in Europe

The UK Supreme Court was having none of it. The law was objectively clear: Johnson and Cummings had broken it with their over-long prorogation. Johnson has so far chosen to ignore this ruling, but there is another case lurking in the wings should he try to pull any more stunts. He may not be out yet, but he is certainly down.

The Supreme Court decision is a sign that the Johnson-Cummings-Bannon brand of populism isn’t going down particularly well in the UK. Recent polling would suggest that their narrative of a populace furious at Brexit delays and betrayals is not really based in any “reality” outwith Number 10 flow charts and BBC selective vox pops.

These polls point instead to a majority in disgust about the Government lying to the Queen, with a high proportion of those polled believing Johnson should have resigned after his humiliating defeat at the Supreme Court.

Another recent YouGov poll showed that 63% of Britons think the current tone of the debate is too aggressive and that the Remain vote is clearly ahead should there be another referendum.

Bannon himself has certainly come up against a cultural clash in the rest of Europe. After falling out with Trump back in 2017, he sloped off to Europe, determined to use his vast wealth and influence to sow the seeds of far-right discontent against the so-called EU “liberal elite”. He went on to set up “The Movement” in Brussels, to promote a populist “supergroup” bloc to infiltrate the EU with new MEPs ands to set in motion plans to start an alt-right “gladiator-style” training school in an ancient monastery near Rome.

However, things haven’t been going quite according to plan. At the European election in May, the far-right parties did less well than expected, while in Italy Bannon’s bully-boy buddy, the controversial Minister for the Interior Matteo Salvini, gambled on a snap election only to lose his power base in government. The training school idea has been thwarted by planning permission laws.

In other news, support for the Austrian far-right party collapsed at their September elections, with the Spanish Vox party predicted to decrease their influence at the election next month.

So far, not so good for the new populist wave. The message here is that Europe is not buying Bannon’s big plan for alt-right domination. In the UK a similar pattern looks to be emerging.

That should serve as a little warning to Johnson, Cummings and their out-of-sight svengali, Steve Bannon.

The Prime Minister and his advisers may feel buoyed by polls that show their party ahead, but rebel Tories such as David Gauke and Dominic Grieve are warning of a haemorrhage of voters from traditional Conservative areas.

If the UK Government are banking on votes in the North, they’d better hope there’s more support than the angry people Johnson met when he went walkabout north of Manchester last month.

Interim Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw’s capitulation to a Johnson Brexit regardless of the resultant economic chaos for Scots will inevitably mean a wipe-out for the Scottish Tories, and the DUP look set to lose voters to the Alliance party in Northern Ireland.

Here in the real world, voters seem to be preparing to plump for democracy and the rule of law over an angry, divisive agenda devoid of actual hard facts.

After all, there’s nothing like a deadline to focus the mind. As the clock ticks on Brexit and the disaster of a No Deal doggedly refuses to recede, this populist-style Government might be in for a shock come election time.

Rather than “Get Brexit Done”, the public, with a little help from the monarchy, the law and opposition MPs, may ensure that Johnson and Cummings are the ones who get done instead.