I used to think Boris Johnson was an idiot, but I’m not as stupid as that now.

In my defence, it was easy to be duped by all the bluster and buffoonery. His hair was a mess. His suits were dishevelled. The man couldn’t even properly tie a tie. His personal life was chaotic. It honestly seemed to have lost track of how many children he had and by whom.

Then there were the quotes. There are literally hundreds of inane excerpts from speeches which make you seriously doubt his sanity ... and sometimes even your own for choosing to read them.

I chose these three more or less at random:

“If a constituent came to my MP’s surgery with her face obscured, I should feel fully entitled … to ask her to remove it so that I could talk to her properly. If a female student turned up at school or at a university lecture looking like a bank robber then ditto: those in authority should be allowed to converse openly with those that they are being asked to instruct.”

Talking about Muslim women, 2018.

“My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.”

On becoming Prime Minister, 2016.

“What will synthetic biology stand for – restoring our livers and our eyes with miracle regeneration of the tissues, like some fantastic hangover cure? Or will it bring terrifying limbless chickens to our tables.”

Inaugural speech to the United Nations General Assembly, 2019.

The only time I have ever agreed with Better Together’s head of strategy Blair McDougall was when he called Boris Johnson a clown and told a TV audience in 2014 that he found it inconceivable that a serious political party would ever elect him as its leader.

Which is exactly what we were supposed to think. Had the world – or at least the political world – taken him more seriously, perhaps greater barriers would have been put in his path to Number 10.

In his rise to the top Boris Johnson shared certain characteristics with Donald Trump. They both give the impression of not quite having his brain switched on. Their sentences fly off in odd directions and either land in nonsensical places or, more usually, fail to land at all.

Trump, though, always seemed more dangerous … and not just because he had his finger poised over that nuclear trigger. He was capable of anything and looked to be embarking on the creation of a dystopian future which put even The Handmaid’s Tale in the shade.

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Thankfully there were enough sentient Americans to kick out Trump, but right now it would be a foolish gambler who would bet against Johnson being returned to the Commons as Prime Minister. He seems somehow self-deprecating, the kind of chap a decent Englishman might enjoy sharing a pint with.

But while he is busy charming the pants off middle England he is dragging the UK ever further into the chaos he purports to love so much. After all, he is reported to have told Dominic Cummings: “Chaos isn’t that bad. Chaos means that everyone has to look to me to see who’s in charge.”

Since January, chaos has been growing all over the UK, to an extent that is threatening to engulf it and drag it into the abyss. The post-Brexit trade deal which the Prime Minister literally threw together as the deadline approached announced its arrival with queues of lorries gathered at ports as they tried in vain to reach European markets.

At the time, the scenes of rotting fish and the breath-taking losses at Scottish fish markets seemed somehow an accident, as if Johnson had meticulously planned that Brexit would go one way and, whether because of incompetence or unexpected circumstances, it went another. After all, what rational, sane person would design a form of Brexit guaranteed to inflict the maximum level of damage imaginable?

As time went on that theory seemed more and more difficult to accept. Since the initial Brexit difficulties we have seen the entirely predicable problems with EU workers have to leave Britain prove insurmountable. The shortage of lorry drivers has disrupted food deliveries to such an extent that empty shelves have become commonplace at supermarkets all over the country.

Last week some petrol stations ran out of petrol, encouraging widespread outbreaks of panic buying, meaning petrol became even more difficult to find.

Retailers and road haulage businesses began predicting more trouble with Christmas deliveries. Farmers cannot find enough seasonal workers to pick their crops. Some producers have stopped abandoned planting for next season altogether, arguing that there is little point planting if fruit and vegetables are left rotting in the ground.

Gas prices increased by so much that many of the smaller suppliers who had entered the market to foster much-lauded competition went to the wall.

As problems plunged the UK into crisis after crisis, Conservative ministers launched a desperate campaign to divert blame from Brexit, where it properly belonged, to the pandemic. Lorry drivers were too ill to work. Or had returned home. There were no petrol shortages, it was our fault for buying too much.

And there, sitting atop the whole mess, was Boris Johnson. There was no remorse for the situation in which the UK had been thrust. No plans to solve the situation. Instead the Prime Minister seemed to be perversely enjoying each new disaster that reared its head. When he said he enjoyed chaos he wasn’t joking.

It seems obvious now that the mismanagement of Brexit was not the result of mistakes or incompetence. It wasn’t just that Johnson wanted Brexit done at any cost and was prepared to put up with the consequences, no matter how bad they turned out to be. Far from it. Boris Johnson actively wanted everything to fall apart, to give him the opportunity to rebuild Britain from the ground up as a right-wing, British nationalist, anti-progressive country, in which power was even more narrowly concentrated in the hands of his elitist chums more interested in storing up vast amounts of personal wealth, working out ever more inventive ways of avoiding paying their taxes, and watching the most vulnerable sink into intolerable poverty.

He is not an incompetent. He is a charlatan.

Look who the Boris Johnson government considers proper targets for their attacks. Those on universal credit, who are deemed to no longer need the meagre £20 extra per week allocated to help them deal with pandemic expenses.

Just a few months ago in July, Johnson received a formal warning over misleading comments he made about poverty levels in the UK when he claimed there were fewer households now with children in poverty compared to a decade ago. The Office for Statistics Regulation said he was being selective about the figures. There is literally nothing the man says that you can believe.

​READ MORE: Boris Johnson's speech was trivial, vague and utterly lacking in policy

He seems particularly antagonistic towards Scotland, a country which did not vote for him and did not vote for his beloved Brexit. He has snatched some spending powers from the Scottish Parliament as well as challenging its right to make legislation on children’s right.

The fact that Johnson’s challenge was this week supported by the Supreme Court is deeply worrying. The court ruled that parts of a bill to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law was outside the competence of the Scottish Parliament.

Scotland is now facing the most hostile Prime Minister with the least interest in devolution for decades and we cannot rely on the courts to support our parliament, which seemingly must always be subservient to Westminster.

The longer we remain within a collapsing union in which Tory politicians seek to deny us any means of escape the more dangerous and precarious our position becomes. It’s time to go, and go quickly.