LAST week the Kardashian family bid us a fond farewell after 14 years. Like the political union we live in, the reality family show was an institution whose time has come and when it finally departs I will not be crying in my Botox.

“It is with heavy hearts that we’ve made the difficult decision as a family to say goodbye to Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” big sister Kim said in a statement that was inevitably posted on Twitter.

Quite why the news led on the BBC’s website is a matter for internal policy discussions, but it was probably no more than a reflection of the triumph of reality TV – if it’s popular it must be important. If it’s a briefing on Coronavirus from Scotland it must end.

After the show’s demise was announced, Kim’s sister and co-star Khloe Kardashian tweeted: “The emotions are overflowing today ... change is tough but sometimes needed.”

It’s not often I look to Khloe Kardashian for ideological inspiration, but change is tough and needed more than ever.

This has been an astonishing week in politics, a Westminster government proposing to break the law as the reality TV presidency of Donald Trump rumbles on to what is increasingly looking like a knife-edge election.

Historian Rick Perlstein, author of

Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980, once said: “If you are not writing about the berserk then you’re not writing about America.” Last week proved the theory

American politics attracts the curious and the semi-detached in ways that can defy comprehension. Last week Kanye West, a prominent character of the Kardashian era, embarked on the next phase of his chaotic presidential campaign. West walked on water. The R&B star appeared to walk over the surface of a lake as he made a dramatic entrance to his Sunday Service gospel gathering in Atlanta. The rapper and presidential outsider was joined by his seven-year-old daughter North and four-year-old son Saint for the stunt — which involved them walking on a translucent platform hidden just beneath the surface of a pond.

Thus far West’s campaign has been an emotional car crash which has played out like a reality TV show – featuring, divorce, recrimination, and revenge. West seemed to be acting out a paranoid gameplay that would have tested the fictional creativity of Tom Wolfe or Norman Mailer in campaign trails gone by.

If it were only the Kardashians and Kanye West that American reality TV had spawned we could almost forgive its weird populist legacy. After all, they are the by-product of a television culture that across the decades has given us Mr Ed the talking horse and Robin Williams as the extra-terrestrial Mork.

But gradually, and with increasing concern, reality television has come to contaminate the Oval Office too, bringing with it jaw-dropping behaviour and barely believable public policy. The normal practices of diplomacy, negotiation and policy adjustments have been jettisoned for bitterness, vengefulness, and brazen self-love.

ACCORDING to claims in a new book by President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, Donald Trump hated Barack Obama so much that he hired a lookalike to sit in his office so he could “fire” him, in the style of his role in the TV show The Apprentice. Cohen alleges that his old boss was “a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, and a con man”. In a photo included in the book is an Obama lookalike actor sitting opposite Trump in the Oval office awaiting the US equivalent of his P45.

Hold that thought for a moment ... a grown man in one of the highest offices of global politics hired an actor from a look-alike agency so he could play out his old role in a reality TV show. That is the stuff of the psychiatrist’s chair not the offices of state.

Last week alone, Trump has now admitted he downplayed the threat of coronavirus and falsified scientific advice. The political analyst Dana Milbank could not have been more succinct when he said: “It was a life-or-death decision, and President Trump chose … himself.” He then took to Twitter and persistently posted photographs of riots and social disturbances to fracture public opinion about the protests sweeping America.

We are long since accustomed to Trump using his social media accounts to promote his often-strange opinions, but using them to foster a civil war in the streets is the stuff of malevolent conspiracy rather than settled power.

Paradoxically, the president brought to national attention by his role in a reality TV show has now run out of money to fund television adverts in the last crucial weeks of the campaign and may already have conceded swing states to Joe Biden.

If America is consumed by a presidency teetering on the brink of narcissistic breakdown then the politics of Westminster, maddening though they may be, are more engulfed in a very different kind of condition – corrupt cynicism.

Boris Johnson has announced a new way of engaging with an unsettled press corps, adopting the system already familiar in America where a press mandarin – probably the journalist Allegra Stratton – will field briefing questions. Superficially, it suggests a move towards Trump’s White House but much still separates the two regimes.

Trump is a full-blown narcissist, Johnson is still pursuing the dissembling idea that his government – led by Dominic Cummings – is the great disrupter, challenging orthodoxies and abandoning familiar ways of working.

It is a conceit that has led to their latest move, sabotaging trade negotiations with Europe and moving Britain towards a No-Deal Brexit, in what must surely signal the endgame for the UK Union.

Johnson’s woeful performances at Prime Minister’s Questions can only be explained by one of two things – either he arrives at the Houses of Parliament winging it and spectacularly unprepared for the monumental challenges sweeping around his premiership, or he is immune to criticism and so bloated by entitlement that he cannot grasp the breadth of the issues he is dealing with.

The Conservatives were once the law-and-order party and in decades gone by would be sticklers for the law, in the full knowledge that it was stacked in favour of their wider ambitions. Now a new kind of Tory is amongst us, one that is intoxicated with the concept of disruption and rule-bending.

Johnson and Cummings have embarked on the No-Deal scenario in the belief that it would open the free-market prospect of a US-UK trade deal. Although chlorinated chicken has become the metaphor for the deal, many more barriers stand in the way, not least the great tormentor of all things English – the Irish.

On Wednesday, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said that there is “absolutely no chance” of a US-UK trade deal passing through Congress if the Good Friday Agreement is undermined because the agreement is “the bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland”.

Disruptions can shift blockages with a system, but they can also unleash clouds of chaos and doubt out of which unintended consequences emerge.

Day by day, Scotland is witnessing further harm to its democracy and to its small but cherished parliament.

This has two direct impacts: it emboldens the many who have arrived at the point where independence is the next necessary stage in our development as a nation and for those still unconvinced each new disruption nudges them towards the liferaft.

Kim Kardashian will not have a vote nor will the life of cossetted narcissism play any role in our democracy, but what the culture she has helped spawn has done is show up the follies of a political system placing its faith in fame, celebrity and reality television.

Rather the cautious, flawed and often mundane politics of home than the Botox-filled narcissism of others.