WE all know the Prime Minister loves to paint. He loves to paint himself as a normal human being with wholesome hobbies, and in the past has claimed to get artistic with wine crates, whisky bottles and even the little wooden boxes used to package fancy cheese. So it’s perhaps no surprise that he currently has paint jobs on the brain – rather than trifling matters like stopping the spread of the virus, maintaining food safety standards or condemning racism in all its forms (including the forms that spew from his own mouth).

Not for Johnson the humble Airfix kit or paint-by-numbers project as we ease our way out of lockdown. Instead he’s decided to decorate his plane, RAF Voyager, in red, white and blue (navy blue, no doubt) because he reckons the current grey lacks the pizzazz necessary to secure top-quality trade deals on his flying visits to other countries. Yes, I’m sure that will make all the difference. I can just imagine the scenes: “That’s the UK Prime Minister touching down now, chief.”

“What an impressive set of wings!

I am dazzled and impressed.”

“Rumour has it he’s bringing Penguin biscuits to the state reception.”

“The ones with the jokes on the wrappers?”

“I believe so, chief.”

“Well, we could all use a laugh right now! Pass me my pen and that one-sided trade deal – I’m convinced!”

Surprisingly, given his own relevant experience, Johnson is not actually planning to do the painting himself. Instead the paint job will reportedly be carried out at an airport in Cambridge at a cost of £900,000.

Nine hundred thousand pounds! What a sum. Can Priti Patel even count that high? Just think how many free school meals that would get you. They could serve the kids Brie and Camembert, then throw in some poster paints to keep them busy for the rest of the afternoon.

If identifying flags are so important to the Prime Minister, maybe as a top priority he should look into having the faces of SNP MPs painted with Saltires, so that he can distinguish them from all the other parliamentarians with Scottish accents. I’m sure we could find someone to take on the job for the bargain price of £899,999.

It would be especially helpful for when Johnson is giving replies in the House of Commons that comprise one part wild guess and one part random comment about independence.

Alistair Carmichael must have been very surprised to find himself accused of pro-indy leanings when he asked a question about beef labelling – after all, he’s a Liberal Democrat, was UK Scottish Secretary in the coalition government, and lists “no to another independence referendum” right at the top of the campaigns section of his website.

The National: Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael

READ MORE: PM claims former minister in coalition government is pro-independence

Perhaps Johnson imagines the MP for Orkney and Shetland is in fact in favour of bypassing the referendum process and going for UDI? Maybe he also thought Jo Swinson was a nationalist sleeper agent, trying to trick her way into Number 10 so that she could dissolve the Union.

But surely he must remember that Carmichael is a proven liar – it takes one to know one, after all – and that his dishonestly related to political skullduggery of a constitutional nature. Carmichael did, let us not forget, authorise the leaking of a memo that falsely claimed Nicola Sturgeon told the French ambassador she wanted David Cameron to win the 2015 election. To top it off, he then lied about doing so.

Goodness knows what kind of muddle Johnson will get himself into when talking to recently appointed Scotland minister Iain Stewart. A Scotsman, casting English votes for English laws? Whatever next! The MP for Milton Keynes might want to consider getting himself a Union flag suit, to ensure his boss remember which side he’s on.

In Johnson’s defence, LibDem orange is awfy similar to SNP yellow, and he’s been so busy focusing on important matters in recent weeks that he probably hasn’t had time to test himself for colour blindness (presumably the approved method would be to drive down a busy road with multiple sets of traffic lights).

Oddly, though, the Prime Minister has found time to enthuse about antipodean biscuits, timing his bizarre announcement about trade deals with Australia to coincide with the news that the UK has exported Covid-19 into a previously virus-free New Zealand.

At this point you have to wonder if there’s a game of high-stakes dares going on behind the scenes at Number 10. “Rub a balloon on his head and hand him a packet of Tim Tams” has to be the most audacious one yet. Whatever next? Will someone stick a Bo Selecta mask on his face just before the daily briefing? Or lock him in a fridge full of chlorinated chickens?

Meanwhile Matt “Handsy” Hancock is playing tig in parliament and Dominic “Dragon” Raab can’t tell the difference between real life and Game of Thrones. It’s tempting to suggest Cabinet meetings must resemble a primary school debate club, but that seems unfair to five-year-olds, many of whom probably have a better grasp of both social distancing and anti-racist activism than these unabashed twerps.

If the painted plane is intended as yet another distraction from serious news, it hasn’t quite worked. Instead it has served as a reminder of the Prime Minister’s real favourite pastimes: hurling playground-level insults and telling outright lies.