BORIS Johnson seems immune to embarrassment. Even when you mention the Garden Bridge Project, the fanciful idea of creating an English country garden astride the River Thames, he brushes it away like a minor irritation.

When he was the Mayor of London, Johnson’s floral pathway wilted, as private funders abandoned ship and public costs escalated to levels that were no longer politically tenable. The cost of £200 million was in part borne by the Treasury, one of the countess secret subsidies to London that seem to disappear into the black hole of biased public funding.

Although he has blustered his way out of the mess, Johnson, was the major political champion of the Garden Bridge after being charmed by the actress and comedienne Joanna Lumley, who initially came up with the concept in conversation with an architect friend.

It does not take too big an imaginary leap to cast Lumley as her most famous comic creation Patsy, the wildly promiscuous, fashion director of Absolutely Fabulous and Johnson in his most famous role as a dishevelled shagger who haphazardly becomes Prime Minister.

The Garden Bridge project was a fiasco, ill-conceived and by any measure a political humiliation, which in a fairer world would have brought Johnson’s political career to an arse-shuddering end. But this is the politics of entitled England, the trouser-dropping Whitehall farce that Scotland briefly features in, but only as a bit-part character.

The Scottish-born journalist Ian Jack was one of the first writers to expose the true farce of Garden Bridge, coining the term “chumocracy” – the damning culture of friendships, business connections and sleaze that underpin many of the UK Government’s greatest failures, from the procurement scandals of the Covid crisis to last week’s announcement of a tranche of barely believable special envoys hired to aid Britain’s trade efforts after Brexit.

Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for International Trade, no stranger to incompetence or gaffes is the “brains” behind last week’s announcement. Truss has the unblemished enthusiasm of a freelance press officer, gushing, smiley and largely immune to the sheer crassness of what she is selling.

The list of lucky ingratiates is about as inspiring as the cast of Crossroads and has invited a level of cynicism that few previous governments have manged to provoke. The Conservatives are fast becoming government by slapstick, driven by a clown-car cabal from Vote Leave and the Brexit campaign I will resist the powerful temptation to list all the government’s new trade envoys for fear that’s somewhere down the list Jim Davidson and The Chuckle Brothers are among the anointed, but this bizarre cast of characters reassures me that Scotland should seek it independence, a realignment with the EU and its own trade corridors.

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The trade envoy concept has Johnson’s inattentive scrawl scribbled all over it. It’s a half-assed idea, busked together to add the illusion of substance to the already tattered concept of Global Britain. Inevitably there are rewards and sinecures in the mix: old pals, Brexit die-hards and fading Tory placemen.

The press release promised talent from across the political spectrum. It is no great surprise that “across the political spectrum” does not include anyone from the devolved governments or from Scotland’s ruling SNP.

The envoy who has attracted the most attention is the cricketer Ian “Beefy” Botham. Trust me, as I typed the word “Beefy” a small bit of me died insid.

Botham’s nickname alone should exclude him from serious public office but this is the bind we find ourselves in, trapped in a cul-de-sac with our near neighbours who seem intent on becoming a global laughing stock. Such was the horror of seeing the ennobled Botham as a diplomat I had a premonition of an ageing Nicola Sturgeon desperately searching for an ambassador to represent an independent Scotland’s interests in Saudi Arabia, and coming across Frank McAvennie’s name in her address book.

BOTHAM may be a famous cricketer and so be able to glad hand it among a generation of ageing Australian men, but his clunky personality, his social sledging and his self-incriminating belief that “England is an island” demonstrates a man of limited ability or possibly a man who has never felt any great need to consider the other nations within the Union. His Britain is England.

According to those who came to his defence, Botham has two virtues, he works in the blended wine industry with his wife and daughter, and he “does a lot for charity”. I cringe when I hear that phrase, knowing it has been used as a cloak to enrobe Jimmy Saville and Prince Andrew with some semblance of moral substance. If “Beefy” attracted the headlines it was the former Labour MP Kate Hoey who personified the base stupidity of these announcements. Hoey, who activists within Vauxhall Labour Party, had been trying to unseat for years, brought herself to the attention of barking Brexiteers when she sailed up the Thames with Nigel Farage and engaged in nautical warfare with a pleasure boat that had been commandeered by Bob Geldof.

A former Marxist, Hoey is the very nadir of current Labour Party politics, a right wing Brexiteer who has accepted every bauble the British state has proffered her. She is now Baroness Hoey, of Lylehill and Rathlin in County Antrim.

As a special envoy to Ghana, Hoey will spend her enriched future in the Lords and on periodic trips to Africa, excused from answering questions about empty supermarket shelves, a lack of lorry drivers, the haemorrhaging of European talent, mobile roaming charges returning, and why her beloved Northern Ireland enjoys a better post-Brexit deal than Scotland.

Although it has been a week of staggering disbelief on the envoy front, one of the most questionable plenipotentiaries was the unconvincing David “Fluffy” Mundell, the MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale. He has been tasked with working in “dynamic markets” and breaking “down barriers to trade”.Feel free to bookmark the last sentence, it is the only time that Mundell and the word “dynamic” will ever appear adjacent to each other in print.

Mundell who is still and MP, has been given New Zealand as his target nation and thus has trapped himself in another fine mess. Although there is no payment for undertaking the role, Mundell will be talking livestock but will not be travelling cattle class.

Many of Mundell’s local constituents are facing the fallout that Brexit has imposed on farming and alarmingly on the logistics of the food supply chain. Mundell is already pushing a carcass up hill. It is not an easy task and it will only worsen. There has been a £2bn decline in food and drink exports in the first quarter of 2021 at least in part due to the new complexities of selling to Europe.

As Europe stands back, bewildered by the damage that Brexit is doing to trade and President Joe Biden has reiterated his belief that Johnson is unfit to govern, we find ourselves in an odd and unflattering place.

It may be glib to say it, but Scotland stands alone in the world, as the only nation on earth that is still required to take England seriously.