YOU know, maybe we’ve been wrong all along.

Maybe Boris Johnson is not the greatest enemy of independence but actually its biggest supporter. After all, look at the week past.

Manfully body-swerving each opportunity to show Westminster in a good light, Boris has beaten off all contenders (and lordy, there’s been a veritable wheen) to prove that he alone is the gift to independence that will never stop giving.

The week began with Boris in barefaced and brazen rule-bending mode, determined to save a parliamentary pal so lacklustre few had heard of Owen Paterson till he was exposed as a paid lobbyist.

But Paterson’s (below) petulant resignation prompted Scotland’s most secret double agent with an incredible opportunity. If he could conflate his chum’s “dilemma” with some trumped-up concerns about the standards process, maybe he could annoy enough Tory MPs to provoke a reputation-shredding, righteous-Scots-scunnering Commons revolt? And verily, so it came to pass.

The National: Owen Paterson last week resigned as the Tory MP for North Shropshire after a lobbying scandal, throwing a renewed focus on the issue of MPs’ work outside Parliament

Tory MPs (who now truly understand Cummings’ nickname for the PM) were furious at being forced to back The Trolley’s reckless rulebook re-writing efforts against their own better judgement. Poor lambs.

Apart from everything else, the disgraceful episode forced voters with memories to realise that the absence of successful revolts over benefit sanctions, Universal Credit uplift axing and cuts to foreign aid must mean every last one of them agreed.


Then Johnson surely contrived that contemptuous Commons “debate” about the Paterson affair and his own standards reform botch-up to achieve maximum aggravation in the eyes of fair-minded Scots.

With the PM’s now classic flair for the spineless, he ensured that the guilty parties (himself and Rees Mogg) were either physically absent – strolling maskless around a convenient hospital – or physically present but mentally absent – lolling maskless beside the dispatch box.

Either way, a minister who had nothing to do with the decision took the heat, reminding Scots who still perversely believe in the Union, that real Tories never own up, never take it on the chin, never learn and never apologise.

And finally, for folk perhaps distracted by the cost-of-living crisis or unfolding evidence of climate catastrophe, Boris unveiled his masterstroke.

The National: Former attorney general Sir Geoffrey Cox could face a probe into whether he used his parliamentary office to carry out his second job as a Q

Geoffrey (booming-posh-voice-so-he-must-be-right) Cox MP (above) spent more time last year earning £1 million under the Caribbean sun as a QC acting for of the British Virgin Islands than he did representing his own constituents. One might have expected a PM (who after all sacked Geoffers) to issue a fierce if hypocritical condemnation. But no. The Yes Campaign’s secret weapon issued only a mild reprimand – clever.

And finally, just as it seemed the story might die down – ITV’s News at 10 revealed that Boris Johnson was back in London after that hospital visit it time for the Commons debate and could have done the decent thing and apologised to fellow MPs in person.

But that could have gone badly wrong.

Some almost terminally disillusioned No voters might have felt a glimmer of hope – believing Boris had somehow learned his lesson, taken responsibility and discovered a moral compass. So, it was tough and tempting but Boris bravely bolted, did the wrong thing, bypassed the Commons and headed straight home for a kebab.

How could anyone vote for this man, his party or his “sacred cause” of the Union – unless that’s precisely the point.

Fiendishly clever.

OBVIOUSLY, the biggest danger for Johnson’s secret mission would be unintended victory at the COP26 summit. Mind you, the prospects of agreement never looked good.

Not just because Russia and China stayed away, but because persuading them to come and resolving stumbling blocks between the 195 countries who have appeared would need a Prime Minister working full-time, flat-out, with commitment, sincerity and near-obsessive dedication.

Once again, Boris spotted the dangers.

Instead of copying the French, whose Paris summit triumph followed a year of hard work involving a former French premier and 200 diplomatic staff, Boris wasted the extra Covid year he had to plan, waxed hot and cold on key issues and left his flurry of persuasive jet trips far too late.

So now, Boris is in Glasgow to soften us up for no overarching COP26 deal that keeps a 1.5C limit on global warming alive. Instead, minions are fluffing up the long grass for an interim ministerial summit in 2022. Or maybe 2023 so it doesn’t interrupt/derail/embarrass his early general election campaign.

Meanwhile, Boris has clearly advised his ministers that when it comes to the climate crisis, the old excuses are always the most irritating.

New Aviation Minister Robert Courts explained yesterday that draconian (ie: effective) measures to reverse climate change might create a public “pushback” if implemented too soon.

Wowser. Remember that utterly flawed argument from the early days of the Covid crisis – when Boris let a crucial month pass before lockdown because the bolshy old public wouldn’t tolerate restriction? Well, it’s back. We’re all about to be blamed again for the failure to achieve international consensus at COP26 by a government that couldn’t charm or negotiate its way out of a recycled paper bag.

MEANWHILE on the domestic front, Johnson isn’t missing a Union-bashing trick, encouraging his thuggish, new Health Secretary to issue an ultimatum to staff in the English care sector and NHS – get double jabbed or lose your jobs.

How inflammatory is that in the midst of a health staffing crisis and how puzzling when persuasion has worked in Scotland and Wales with around 95% compliance. Clearly English workers so mistrust their own Westminster Government that they’re ready to sacrifice jobs they need and love rather than take the vaccinations. Who knows why that might be – but maybe the exertion of brute force and authority over underlings isn’t the most effective way to govern. Sadly, it’s how Tories were educated. It’s what they believe and it’s how they’ve made Westminster work – for generations. They’re not going to change now.

So, what other explanation is there?

The National:

Johnson, Patel, Rees-Mogg, Javid and Gove (above) must surely be independentistas in disguise.

And look. Knowing his reappearance in a reinvigorated Glasgow would only produce pelters after a week of sleaze, evasion and imminent COP failure, Boris has boldly returned, prompting Andrew Bowie MP to quit as vice-chair of the Tory party, putting Douglas (three jobs) Ross in a bad light (again) and provoking more demands to withdraw the peerage bought recently by failed Scottish Tory candidate Malcolm Offord.

It takes courage to knowingly create such political havoc – or adherence to an even more important secret cause.

Aye, despite knowing the boos at Central Station would far exceed the booing at Bute House, and without a back door exit in sight, Boris bravely headed back to Yes City.

Why on earth would the PM put himself through that, unless Boris is determined to boost the case for independence (and miss another outing at PMQs).

And still, it’s only Thursday.

Who knows what other Indy-enhancing, Union-destroying manoeuvre the last Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is planning to unleash before he heads home?

I’ll tell you one thing.

Thank God he’s on our side.