The National:

DURING his stint as editor of The Spectator, our beloved Prime Minister once published a now infamous poem that referred to Scots as a “verminous race”. The questionable attempt at satire concluded that Scotland "deserves not merely isolation, but comprehensive extermination".

For all of my criticisms of Boris Johnson, I never thought he’d take the advice quite so literally as to have a stab at it.

Yet what else could be said about a Prime Minister who knowingly took a cross country trip into Scotland to visit a Covid-19 hotspot before continuing on with his ill-advised journey?

Eat your heart out Margaret Ferrier, a new covidiot reigns supreme.

READ MORE: Margaret Ferrier released on bail after making no plea in Covid court case

If Johnson had any real interest in Scotland, he would have respected the travel restrictions that his own government put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus –particularly the more worrying strains that are popping up across England.

More importantly, he would have respected the wishes of Scotland’s democratically chosen First Minister and maintained a two-metre distance at least from the Scottish border.

But rules don’t apply to the Great Blusterer.

Instead, he had the brass neck to scramble into Scotland to poke ineffectually at some samples in a lab and call that “essential travel”.

As much as Boris Johnson loves to play a bit of dress-up when the press are kicking about, it would be safe to say that his actual knowledge of the scientific intricacies of vaccine manufacturing is close to nil.

He might say that it’s “important to see the rollout of the vaccination programme across this country”, but on-site scientists could have been dumping vaccine into a tip for all Johnson would have been able to tell.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson visited Scots vaccine lab despite being warned of Covid outbreak

So let’s not beat about the bush and call this as it was: a reckless, bounce across the border to quelle rising support for independence.

The fact that the Prime Minister plowed ahead despite Downing Street having been informed that the central Scotland site had been at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak is an unfortunate indicator of Johnson’s attitude to Scotland as a whole.

The Tory leader seems far more focused on appearing to have an interest in Scottish affairs than he is in taking any meaningful action to reverse the trend toward independence in Scotland - and that includes putting the safety of Scots ahead of his own need to be seen to be doing something.

For examples of this, you need look no further than Downing Street’s Union Unit, whose current explicit purpose is to undermine the Scottish Government rather than work to strengthen ties between the fracturing nations.

How has Boris Johnson so completely failed to learn anything from the early days of the coronavirus pandemic when he boasted about shaking hands with every Covid-19 patient within arms reach?

Johnson may be immune now that he’s recovered from coronavirus himself, but there’s nothing to suggest he wasn’t extremely capable of passing the virus on to others. Indeed, it’s about the only thing he seems capable of.

WATCH: Ian Blackford rips into Boris Johnson over visit to vaccine lab

Boris Johnson still views the fight against independence as something that exists only in the realm of public relations. So detached from the factors driving the extinction of the United Kingdom, Johnson seems to think enough photos of himself in a hard hat and a high-vis vest will be all that’s needed to reverse the trend.

It’s why he’s more focused on undermining the Scottish Government than creating tangible benefits to staying in the UK, and it’s why the risk of spreading the virus was less of a concern than maintaining his manufactured self-image of a Prime Minister with a vested interest in all corners of the UK.

For all the damage he’s done, Johnson should have followed his own advice and stayed home.