NOTHING conveys confidence in the future of the, er, Union, than a Prime Minister who, er, can barely spit out a sentence saying that, er, the Scottish people would almost certainly vote No if given the chance to vote in an independence referendum again.

Of course this is a chance we won’t have if he gets his way, but that doesn’t matter because “almost certainly” is good enough, isn’t it? We should probably just stop having elections too, if it seems “almost certain” who will win them. Devolution and democracy are all well and good if people use them in the correct way – for example, to elect Boris Johnson as mayor of London – but a disaster if they make the wrong choices. The solution, therefore, is to avoid giving them choices.

We don’t know what tedious ramble was set to follow this, because by this point Speaker Lindsay Hoyle had become fed up listening to the umms and errs of the man who – week in, week out – has refused to refer to the SNP by their actual name, then simply served up further cheek after finally being corrected on it.

Keir Starmer had wanted to know why the Prime Minister referred to devolution north of the Border as a disaster, and why he was so hell-bent on putting the Union in jeopardy with his steady stream of ignorant comments and deliberate insults. Naturally Johnson replied with more of the same, listing the many ways in which the “Scottish Nationalist Party” had failed to improve the lives of Scots.

The Speaker – finally! – had had enough. “Could I just say, it’s the Scottish National Party, not the nationalist party” he said, to which the petulant PM replied “I’m so sorry – they’re national but not nationalists – I see, right” before smirking to himself. His card was marked, so it wasn’t a huge surprise that when he later began yet another diatribe against the party, Hoyle cut him off.

READ MORE: WATCH: Boris Johnson scolded by Speaker for getting SNP's name wrong

This was easy enough for him to do given the PM was self-isolating and taking part digitally, but will he have the confidence to tell him to sit down and shut up when he’s back in the chamber? Here’s hoping. Will Johnson abide by the “ruling”, as he erroneously described it, that he isn’t allowed to call his opponents by names he’s made up, or will his opponents have to resort to calling him Doris Gym-stain before he gets the message? Doubtless he will do it again and claim it was an innocent mistake.

Does he really think we’re all stupid? He also claims there’s been nothing untoward about the way in which contracts have been handed out during the pandemic, despite Starmer pointing out that suppliers with political connections were 10 times more likely to secure them. Thank goodness the Leader of the Opposition has woken up to the fact that this wasn’t a case of Johnson and co being careless with public money. On the contrary, they have been very carefully directing it towards their cronies, freed from the usual restraints of a competitive tendering process.

Ah, says Johnson, but Labour were opposed to buying up PPE when the UK had a desperate need for it, and now “Captain Hindsight is once again trying to score party political points”. How foolish of Labour not to specify, while supporting the calls to protect frontline workers, that the situation shouldn’t be used for shameless profiteering. Colonel Corruption can hardly be blamed now, can he?

Perhaps next week the Speaker will put an end to the childish name-calling altogether. We can dream.