THERE is TV footage shown occasionally (but not often enough) of Boris Johnson a few years back playing rugby with a bunch of kids. The blond buffoon is so anxious to impress that he knocks over an eight-year-old. We should remember that image when we consider the transformed political landscape.

Of course, the tectonic plates have shifted in Scotland and Ireland, but they have shifted in England too, and not to our benefit. The Prime Minister is not the sort of Englishman who will say: “Jolly good show and many many congratulations. Let’s sit down have chat over a cup of tea and sort things out.” He’s the sort that if you show him a belt he will hit below it.

The National: Boris Johnson

In Westminster parliamentary terms Johnson is now master of all he surveys – confident enough to engage in the vainglory of placing a statutory deadline on EU trade negotiations. He is trying to expunge from the collective memory his humiliation of not honouring his promise to “die in a ditch” when the last EU deadline was missed. This new self-imposed deadline is an act of stone-cold silliness in hot pursuit of a Telegraph headline, but significantly no-one in his new model Tory army will say boo to him.

In contrast, just a few weeks ago he was swearing and spluttering at the despatch box after his reversal in the Supreme Court on prorogation. That was the moment to finish him off. However, that opportunity, so hard won by the great work of Joanna Cherry QC MP, was wasted by the supreme hubris of Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats and Jeremy Corbyn’s complete political ineptitude. Instead of turfing him out, the opposition (including the SNP) presented Johnson with the ultimate political present of the Christmas election. All else being equal, Johnson is but 10 weeks later looking forward now to 10 more years. Mr Bean has become Rambo. He is high on his perch and he is not going to fall off by himself. He will have to be knocked off.

Are the changes afoot in the Celtic nations enough to achieve that highly desirable objective? Given that Ireland is largely unreported, let us look at the province first.

Across the water, interesting alliances and support has grown in unlikely or even unthinkable places. In this election, political parties put differences to one side to work together on their goal of ensuring that the North’s desire to remain part of Europe was at the forefront of politics. The Remain-supporting parties, against the previously immovable force of the DUP steamroller, grouped together to ensure success and answer Ireland’s call.

After being denied their voice over the period when the DUP threw their weight around with the Tories, the Northern Irish turned their backs on the failed Unionists and voted in a nationalist majority. This resounding rejection of traditional binary politics returned two new SDLP MPs, with Sinn Fein in turn ousting DUP parliamentary leader Nigel Dodds from North Belfast. Meanwhile, the Alliance Party returned their best result ever and kept the flame of consensus burning in Sylvia Hermon’s old seat of North Down. Stung by their rejection the DUP (and to some extent Sinn Fein) are urgently re-examining their entrenched positions which have kept Stormont in limbo for almost three years.

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These welcome changes are a direct result of putting traditional political adversity to one side. Irish nationalists have also secured the inevitable Brexit border in the Irish Sea, not on the island of Ireland, and an assurance from the European Union that the North will gain immediate admission to the club, if it votes for reunification. Scottish nationalists should note that this opportunity is provided for every seven years, according to the Good Friday Agreement. Put all that together and Irish reunification is closer now than at any point in the last century.

In Scotland we have gained much tactical ground but strategically we now have a great deal to do. The political map is coloured yellow once again and every activist is much cheered by that. Splendid new parliamentarians and some deserved returners are now set for the green benches. Let us hope there is a strategy of popular protest, parliamentary action and international initiative ready, waiting and worthy of their talents. It has to consist of great deal more than just calling for Boris to play fair and recognise that our mandate is bigger than his mandate or settling down to five years of pleading for the scraps from Johnson’s table. If not then those so unfairly shouted down at this year’s conference for asking for a plan B may yet have their day.

The National: Boris Johnson

One hopeful sign is that there is change afoot between the fixed political tribes in Scotland. Over last weekend, Twitter was ablaze with traditional Labour figures recognising Scotland’s democratic right to hold a second independence referendum given Thursday’s result. The twitterati got very excited at this new dawn, with just a few of the usual suspects lowering the tone. MSPs such as Monica Lennon and Neil Findlay all voiced their support of an indyref2, as did councillor Alison Evison and former MP Paul Sweeney. Many argued it could be just a matter of time before former Labour leader Kezia Dugdale makes a move in the same direction too.

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The more the merrier. Because the honest truth is, independence is not just about the SNP. It doesn’t belong purely to one party. The Greens also support it and if Scottish Labour wants to move in this direction, we should regard this as a positive step. The Liberal Democrats are currently in limbo, and after losing their leader, will withdraw into their laager of shame and the Tories are a lost case as far as Scottish patriotism is concerned.

When imagining a new Scotland, we need to ensure that all willing voices are heard, not just the ones who have always agreed with us. The election results have shown us that those who are not willing to reach across traditional political divides will be left behind as new possibilities and opportunities arise. And politicians from all parties be warned – it looks like when you let your constituents down, they take the matter into their own hands. In Northern Ireland where the two-party state had failed and caused paralysis at Stormont, the electorate effectively pointed to a very different future for themselves.

The National: Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon

In Scotland, where the Tories consistently refused to listen to Scotland’s voice and treated our MPs with contempt, the voters came out in their droves to show that they want something far better than this piecemeal, scrappy indifference from Westminster. There is a citizens' army waiting to be led in a rallying cry for change and a vindication of democracy.

Bully-boy Boris may soon discover that Scotland is in no mood to be trampled over just because the ball has popped out of the scrum into his hands.