IN the end, he didn’t even come close to toppling into a ditch, let alone dying in one. But if the Prime Minister had somehow come a cropper while out guising yesterday, he’d have been glad to be in Cambridge rather than Cumbernauld.

Had he been rolled in to an A&E ward, his Joker costume covered in mud and with Haribo Starmix stuck to his hair, he’d have been happy to sit in the waiting room for just a little bit longer if it meant scoring some kind of cheap political point. English doctors for English buffoons! Shorter waiting times are for wimps!

Yes, he did visit a hospital and yes, there were loud choruses of “boo!” but it was Halloween! Obviously those doctors and nurses were all pretending to be ghosts, to get their patients into the spooky spirit, rather than expressing their feelings about anyone visiting the ward.

Clearly, it doesn’t matter to Johnson that Scotland has had the best-performing A&E departments in the UK for four years. Waiting times targets have been missed, which can only mean that NHS Scotland is being neglected because Nicola Sturgeon is obsessed with indyref2.

Yes, the same targets have been missed in England and Wales, by even greater margins, but that obviously isn’t the fault of Boris Johnson. He’s only been in charge for five minutes and he’s been very busy with important tasks like not winning votes, not signing letters and not answering questions about his relationship with American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri.

At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday – his last before the start of the General Election campaign – he decided to go the whole hog and suggest that because Scotland’s health service was being run so badly (albeit not as badly as that of England or Wales), if things continue as they are “the SNP will forfeit all right to manage the NHS in Scotland”.

We can’t say we weren’t warned this would happen.

For months – years, in fact – National readers have been pointing out that stripping Holyrood of powers, or shutting it down altogether, is likely part of Johnson’s master plan for keeping Scotland in its place. When the Great Repeal Bill was tabled, we were warned. When his plans to prorogue the UK Parliament were announced, we were warned. When Johnson returned from Brussels with his new deal, we were warned again. And now he’s warning us himself. He’s coming right out and saying that as far as he’s concerned the devolution settlement is far from settled, and that he will happily grab back any powers he likes with the most spurious of justifications.

Now, Boris Johnson is aware that we have radio and television here in Scotland. He knows we have newspapers and the internet. He knows exactly how Scottish people – not just independence supporters, but the great majority of Scottish people – will feel about his casual threat to remove Scotland’s powers over its own health service. But he does not care. Why would he?

He knows his party stands little chance of retaining Scottish seats in next month’s General Election, and that he himself is one of the main reasons why Tory candidates will struggle on the doorsteps, should they decide to brave the doorsteps at all. Such is the lack of faith in his vote-winning power that the Scottish Tories would rather put yesterday’s woman Ruth Davidson on their leaflets that anyone who has given the current PM even their tacit support.

At this late stage there is nothing Johnson can do to convince Scottish people he is remotely trustworthy, let alone competent; the time for “love-bombing” is long past. So instead he’s made a conscious decision to simply stick two fingers up to us whenever he can. Like a playground bully who has realised he will never earn the friendship of his peers, he has decided to instead become our tormentor, lashing out while pretending he never wanted our stupid votes anyway, in a pathetic attempt to earn playground cred with the gang of bigger boys who stand ready to flush his head down the toilet if he shows even a flicker of weakness.

There’s also a wider audience for these petulant swipes against not just the Scottish Government but

the Scottish Parliament itself. If a threat to Scottish devolution is made in the Commons and no English voters hear it, does it even count? I’m quite sure the great majority of those voters couldn’t care less whether it’s Jeane Freeman or Matt Hancock making decisions about health in Scotland – why would they? – but that’s beside the point. At this stage in his increasingly erratic mission to “get Brexit done”, Johnson will seize any excuse to demonstrate that he will not be bossed around.

Now he’s suffered the humiliation of accepting a Brexit extension offer from the Brussels bureaucrats – now that his “do or die” has turned out to be “fail and lie” – he is turning his fire on another group trying to stand in his way.

If he thinks he can win English votes by getting tough and showing the uppity Jocks who’s boss, that’s exactly what he’ll do. Be warned: this is just the beginning.