IT would be nice to say most people in Scotland were shocked by the revelations over the weekend that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was missing in action during the early weeks of the Covid-19 crisis, and were surprised that the Conservative government with which we are burdened made a series of serious mistakes in its handling of preparations for the coronavirus pandemic.

But we weren’t shocked or surprised, because anyone who had not been blinded by Brexit blinkers was fully aware of the mendacity, incompetence, and callous malignity of the Conservative leadership. The only shocking or surprising thing is how quickly their traditional supporters in the Conservative press have turned on them.

Over the weekend, we learned that Boris Johnson couldn’t be bothered to attend Cobra meetings, that his government ignored scientific evidence, and that the British state ran down its previous preparations for a pandemic because of austerity and Brexit. Emergency stockpiles of PPE had been run down and allowed to go out of date. Staff training for a pandemic had been put on hold in order to focus on Brexit.

The Conservatives were consumed by a mixture of British exceptionalism and their single-minded pursuit of a No-Deal Brexit and their ideological fixation with slashing public services to the bone. They were headed by a man who was preoccupied by his personal life and who couldn’t be bothered to read briefing papers, chair meetings, or perform any of the normal tasks expected of a prime minister.

The severity of the looming crisis was ignored, as Boris Johnson gave speeches extolling British exceptionalism and likened the UK to a superhero which would stand alone as a bastion of free trade and openness as lesser nations went into lockdown. And when the crisis wasn’t ignored, it was misinterpreted as the Government only listened to scientists who told it what it wanted to hear, that this epidemic would behave similarly to flu epidemics and could be dealt with by allowing mass infections.

READ MORE: Testing facility for coronavirus set to open in Inverness

The result of this negligence, stupidity, arrogance, and incompetence is that the UK is now on track to become one of the worst-affected states in Europe. The official death toll in the UK doesn’t include deaths in care homes in England. There’s no good reason for that, except to disguise the true extent of the tragedy from the public.

Reliable estimates for the number of deaths in care homes in England range as high as 7500, the figure given by Care England. If those were added to the total which the UK Government admits to, the UK would be on a par with Italy as the European state with the highest death toll.

Yet unlike Italy, the UK had prior notice and advance warning of the impending crisis. The virus took hold here later than it did in Italy, giving the Tory government a window of opportunity which it could have used to get ahead of the game. It’s an advantage Italy didn’t have, but that early advantage was squandered by a mixture of incompetence, arrogance, and the delusion of British exceptionalism.

On Sunday, Iain Duncan Smith appeared on Sky News to attempt to deflect the blame for his own Government’s failures on to China and the World Health Organisation. He flew into a narcissistic rage when his lies were interrupted. He became so angry because this Government has become used to its deceit not being challenged by the media and Duncan Smith couldn’t cope when a broadcast journalist actually did his job.

It’s just a pity that it took a global pandemic for the media to finally hold fatuous radgers such as Iain Duncan Smith to account, but hey, better late than never. If we had had more of that sort of thing to begin with, we wouldn’t have got into this situation in the first place. We’re looking at you, BBC.

READ MORE: Rejection of .scot email addresses another baffling incident from BBC

In any normal country, and in normal times, such devastating revelations would cause the resignation of the prime minister and the fall of the government. But we don’t live in normal times and we don’t have a normal government.

We most certainly don’t live in a normal country. We live in a Scotland which is little more than a pretty tartan bauble to place on the crown of the British state to disguise the fact the ideology of the UK Government is nothing more than a deluded form of right-wing English nationalism writ large. A Scotland which is powerless and helpless because we were lied to about being a partner in a union.

Those lies from the British state are killing people. People are dying needlessly because we are lumbered with a government that Scotland cannot get rid of. It’s a government that has a callous and casual disregard for truth, for honesty, and even for governing in the interests of its own voters, never mind the population as a whole.

We are witnessing the lethal results of what happens when you have governments that cannot be held to account and whose representatives suffer no consequences for their misdeeds.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson receiving updates on coronavirus, but isn't working

Boris Johnson sought the position of Prime Minister through lies, deception, and mendacity. It should come as no great surprise, least of all to those Scottish Conservatives who mounted the ill-fated Operation Arse back in 2016 to keep him away from the leadership of their party, that, having won the role through deceit and lies, he lies and is deceitful in his performance of it. Those Scottish Conservatives are now very quiet, in their silence they prove themselves to be as deceitful and mendacious as Boris Johnson himself.

Now the only goal of the Scottish Conservatives is Operation Arse-Covering. Scotland is a small country, we all know who you are, and we will remember your craven silence at the next Scottish elections. No amount of SNPBaddery is going to save you from yourselves.

It was just a short while ago that Conservative cheerleaders were urging people to use the hashtag #PrayForBoris on social media. They really need to try to get #PrayForBoris trending again when the investigations into this government’s mishandling of the crisis get under way.

It’s going to take divine intervention to save this part-time Prime Minister’s reputation.

Scotland is in lockdown. Shops are closing and newspaper sales are falling fast. It’s no exaggeration to say that the future of The National is at stake. Please consider supporting us through this with a digital subscription from just £2 for 2 months by following this link: Thanks – and stay safe.