SO, the Scots Tories have finally found a spine and parted company with their own party’s grubby southern consensus over Dominic Cummings. It’s tempting to sneer. But we should rejoice, because this is how a Union ends.

It matters little whether Douglas Ross MP had a genuine fit of conscience or just a long think about his chances of getting re-elected in 2021, whilst connected to the indefensible shambles in Downing Street. The net result is the same. Another crack in the veneer of unity holding the Union together.

Scottish Tories now realise they desperately need some clear, blue water between themselves and the leader who just six months ago delivered their first majority government at Westminster in a decade.

That’s fairly seismic.

But for Jackson Carlaw and his valiant brigade, there’s no longer an option.

Because most folk who voted Tory in December weren’t asking to be governed by the radge buccaneers and weak-chinned underlings who stand before us now. Some were voting for Brexit (good luck with that), some didn’t like Nicola Sturgeon (but 82% approval means she’s won a good many over), and some were voting explicitly to protect the Union. I wonder how that feels now as the real priorities of the British Government are laid bare. Survival, survival, survival. There is no grand plan, no purpose and no mission (apart from Get Brexit Done). They are in power because they like power and because Dominic Cummings has a personal mission to implode Whitehall, end accountability and take education and health out of public-sector control.

As last night’s excruciating but compulsive Commons Liaison Committee grilling demonstrated, Boris Johnson has no grasp of any policy detail at all. This alone explains the massive gap in opinion poll ratings between himself and our well briefed First Minister.

So, Jackson Carlaw has been forced to take a stand over Cummings and the boss he so cravenly supported, despite warnings about his unsuitability as party leader from the Sacred Ruth. Of course, most Scottish voters immediately realised Boris was a waffling boor and Cummings an amoral manipulator, but any big change in the position of the Scottish Conservatives is significant. Because this is how a Union ends – not when the party of change wins 100% of the vote, but when parties completely opposed to independence know they must separate themselves from the contagion of UK party structures to have any chance of getting elected here.

That’s where we are today.

As Kathleen Nutt reported yesterday, Scottish Tories are once again talking about a separate Scottish party to permanently distance the “cause” from the “sell your granny” merchants down south.

READ MORE: Dominic Cummings scandal sparks fresh talk of Scottish Tory breakaway

I know, we’ve been here before. But this time, they’d better do it.

Otherwise, they could still be attached to the party when the worst possible thing happens.

Not a humiliating climbdown forcing Dominic Cummings to walk the plank before emboldened English MPs decide to nip trouble in the bud and remove Boris too.

No, the worst possible outcome for Scottish Tories is that Cummings stays and Boris stays to demonstrate with blinding clarity, day after day and week after week, that NOTHING this shambolic Conservative Government does will stop the majority of English voters supporting it.

Witness the latest YouGov opinion poll, which shows a 9% drop in support for the Tories. That’s bad. But even with a 5% rise for Labour and a 1% jump for the SNP, the poll predicts Boris Johnson would actually win the next General Election. Despite everything we’ve seen, most English voters would still vote for a party run by Dominic Cummings with a sock puppet at the helm.

I appreciate Labour leader Keir Starmer hasn’t been long in post and has so far been impressive. But there’s no guarantee Labour will win a working majority in England in his lifetime – or a big enough majority for a long enough time to transform this archaic, elitist country into something vaguely modern.

Which means Boris and his clowns till the end of time – despite his astonishing lack of judgement, endless evasion and willingness to force every colleague to go out to bat for The Precious.

This is a truly stalled and broken PM who’s lost the support of every right-wing paper in the country bar The Sun and transformed Britain into an international laughing stock.

Britain’s self-harming Brexit vote means most readers of this paper would hardly think that’s new. But for Leave, No and diehard Tory voters, it is.

They are now witnessing the international expression of incredulity and contempt for “Great” Britain and its powerless “Mother of Parliaments” – and discovering that our very special country is on a short list of pariah states barred from entry to smaller, smarter countries who’ve unlocked their borders, along with Russia and the United States.

But even more worrying for the Scottish Tories is BBC Scotland’s opinion poll, which showed 82% support for Nicola’s handling of the Covid crisis compared to 30% for Boris – and this ahead of the Cummings car crash.

FOLK may suggest the Scottish Government’s policies aren’t that different to those of the British Government – nor sadly is our death rate. Which only makes the massive difference in approval ratings more remarkable.

Sturgeon’s way of governing – straight-talking, highly visible, leading from the front, with an emphasis on caution and planning – is incredibly popular. Johnson’s bluster, bullshit, hiding, reaction and arrogance is incredibly unpopular.

So, this is where we are.

A dinghy with all the essential kit on board, being dragged straight over the waterfall edge by an imploding, discredited, incompetent British Government that will still probably get re-elected by voters south of the Border regardless.

We all imagined Brexit would be the last straw for many No voters – and it still might be.

But I’m guessing that with each passing day of Boris Johnson at the helm, a sense of profound detachment from the Union is growing.

If the Scottish Conservatives want to survive his handling of the Covid crisis, they’ll have to act.

It’s what they call an existential dilemma. And it couldn’t be happening to a nicer set of people.