IT was only a few short days ago that everyone was scoffing at an American president whose claim to be fit for office was that he was able to drink a glass of water with one hand. It was widely ridiculed as an example of just how low expectations in American democracy have fallen in some quarters that being able to do something that pre-schoolers take in their stride was taken as proof that Trump is fit for office. At his next rally, Donald will show his fans he’s able to eat up all his dinner with a proper knife and fork like a big boy.

Unfortunately it only took a couple of days for part-time Prime Minister Boris Johnson to prove the UK is not any better. Over the weekend, the Mail on Sunday brought its readers a photo of Johnson’s backside as he performed some press-ups to show how fit he is. Because what you really want as you tuck into your potato scones and fried eggs is to look at Boris Johnson’s bum.

The message presumably being that doing press-ups is what the UK really needs in a prime minister, and not, you know, the ability to turn up for work and actually do the job.

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Thousands of people have died needlessly because of the British Government’s incompetent mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. There is a serious risk of a second wave of the virus because the public is ignoring Johnson’s confused and confusing guidance. The economy has suffered greater damage than that of any other state in Europe. Institutional and systemic racism is still blighting lives and opportunities. And the response from Boris Johnson is? “Hey! Look at my bum!” He’s probably just showing us the end he normally talks out of.

It’s probably the first time in Johnson's life that he’s not wanted to leave something or someone

The UK is in the middle of the greatest crisis since the Second World War, a crisis which the British Government has only made worse, and which it intends to compound even further with an insane No-Deal Brexit and we are literally being mooned at by the Prime Minister. If that doesn’t let you know how much contempt that rulers of the British state have for the little people, probably nothing will.

The Prime Minister’s latest publicity stunt is aimed at those Tory backbenchers who have reportedly been muttering about his evident inability to do the job. There have been rumours that once the crisis is over, some in the Conservative Party might move against him and force his resignation on the grounds of “ill-health”.

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The story would be that he’s been left with lasting health issues from his bout with the virus. The Tory Party may be utterly incompetent. It may be composed of selfish, greedy careerists, but for that very reason it is ruthless when it comes to its own self-preservation.

Boris Johnson, who has plotted against two previous prime ministers, knows that better than most. His ridiculous stunt for the Sunday papers was about sending the message that he’s not about to leave any time soon. It’s probably the first time in his life that he’s not wanted to leave something or someone.

The only real certainty that Scotland has as part of the UK is that nothing is about to get better any time soon. There is a very serious prospect of a second wave of the virus which, despite the best efforts of the Scottish Government, Scotland will not be safe from. There are far too many British nationalist idiots in Scotland who insist that they will take their lead from the Johnson administration and plan on ignoring Holyrood. The second wave may coincide with the No-Deal Brexit that is looming on the horizon.

And this in a Scotland which according to public health expert Professor Devi Sridhar could be coronavirus-free were it not for our open border with England and Scotland’s lack of legal powers to enforce a quarantine on travellers entering from abroad.

So how’s that “Scotland, we love you, lead us not leave us”, that Better Together promised us in 2014 working out for everyone?

Throughout all of this the British Government treats the devolved administrations as an afterthought – if it even remembers their existence at all. Last week, we learned that the planned “air bridges” between the UK and certain European nations which will allow UK citizens and residents to go on holiday without quarantine measures were being introduced without consultation with Edinburgh or Cardiff.

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Progress towards eliminating the virus within Scotland is being undermined by a British Government whose leader is far more invested in cheap headlines about summer holidays abroad and in sending signals to his party that he’s not going to step down than he is in what’s in the best interests of the public.

Meanwhile, members of Johnson’s party in Scotland continue to press the lie that Scotland is performing more poorly than other parts of the UK, when health experts such as Sir Ian Boyd of St Andrews University, and a member of the UK Government’s Sage group, says that Scotland is doing better than other parts of the UK.

Not only does the British Government undermine the efforts of the devolved administrations to deal with the epidemic, its supporters also do their utmost to undermine public trust in the actions of the Scottish Government.

That merely serves to embolden those in Scotland who do not wish to listen to the advice of the Scottish Government, and endangers us all. The Conservative Party is an exercise in collective irresponsibility.

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So how’s that “Scotland, we love you, lead us not leave us”, that Better Together promised us in 2014 working out for everyone? It’s scarcely any wonder that support for independence is on the rise. Back in 2014 the main goal of the independence movement was to assert that Scotland could succeed as an independent nation.

In the next independence vote, the independence movement will be talking a lot more about how the British state and British Government actively hold Scotland back, do this country damage, and prevent us from reaching our full potential. Judging from the rise in support for independence that we’ve seen over the past few months, that’s a message that’s going to find a receptive audience.