The National:

AS an MP with an interest in foreign and security policy, nothing makes my heart sink faster than hearing another chinless Tory wonder chunter on about the "special relationship".

And so a pillar of salt was added to my porridge this morning listening to an unfortunately one-sided interview on Good Morning Scotland with the UK’s former man in Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer – lately known as a born-again Brexit booster – on that very subject.

It was unfortunate, because it did so little to peel the skin of what is so fawningly referred to in the British press as THE special relationship, when anyone who has ever understood it from the American side knows it to be A special relationship at most, one of many.

Brits always misunderstood their utility to the US – a forward base into Europe, used not only literally during two World Wars, but subsequently when they acted not only as a security guarantor to the continent, but for US companies and citizens fostering the bilateral ties that make this Western alliance. Brexit has changed that calculation irreversibly, and not to the UK’s benefit.

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To the Brits, the bonds built up through these two wars and cultural exchange are permanent: but for the US they have evolved – something I saw for myself when visiting Washington with the Defence Committee a couple of years ago. As we were whisked from meeting to meeting, then onto evening receptions in the elegant properties inhabited by UK diplomats, there was a feeling that they were keen to show us that they were doing things simply as they have always done them.

As anyone who has spent the last week refreshing election data from Pennsylvania, Georgia or Arizona can testify, Washington is no longer the absolute power centre of US politics, with elections and economic decisions being made across the Union. It's a phenomenon other states, like the French and Canadians, have quickly worked out – British diplomats ensconced in their Georgetown colonial mansions have been slow to react.

And it is in this context that Boris Johnson emerges as the worst possible Prime Minster to guide the UK relationship with the US at a time when it is of yet higher critical importance to a weakened international standing – pretty good going for a man who was born in New York City.

Whether it be the absolutely insane diplomatic gamble that his Government took in cosying up to the Trump administration, beyond the parameters of normal diplomatic practice, allowing the orange one specifically to tie Brexit to his own anti-globalist, "America First" crusade that is so unpalatable to president-elect Biden, the last of the post-War presidents, who has done so much to foster a multilateral order over his own long career.

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That is the same "Mayo Joe" who has made much of his Irish heritage, and has specifically and pointedly referred to the importance of the Good Friday agreement over the course of the campaign, and which sees the UK Government’s intransigence one the Internal Market Bill as another diversion from the international order.

It is also in the long history of personal insults and petty racism that Johnson built up over time as a newspaper columnist, best typified in the incredibly insensitive accusation that President Obama removed a bust of Winston Churchill from his office because of his "part Kenyan" heritage: the type of Limey colonial condescension bound to provoke not only that President’s deputy, but also the new vice-president Kamala Harris, proud of her own Jamaican and Indian heritage.

No-one doubts that president-elect Biden will be a supremely practical leader who will not let his own personal feelings get in the way of defending the American interest in the way his predecessor did, his first transatlantic phone call will be to Berlin, not to London.

So while British ideas of the special relationship can seem like something of an indulgence, as the UK stands increasingly alone in the international community, this would have been the one moment where any sort of Special Relationship would have counted, instead we have advisors close to the Biden camp publicly describing Johnson as a "shapeshifting creep". "We will never forget your racist comments about Obama and slavish devotion to Trump," wrote Tommy Vietor to his half million twitter followers.

It was however the SNP London branch’s own former Chair Russel McLean – himself soon to embark on a new life across the pond – who said it best on Twitter this weekend: “Just think: this is probably the first time in his life that Boris Johnson has realised that actions have consequences.”

And my, what a time to realise that, and what consequences.