WITH less than a week to go until Christmas, Boris Johnson must be counting down the days until it’s socially acceptable to drink first thing in the morning.

In his resignation letter from the UK Government, Brexit Minister Lord Frost told Boris Johnson he had “concerns about the current direction of travel”.

Don’t we all, pal.

The script writers of The Thick of It wouldn’t have dared put together something as shambolic as what we’ve seen from the Tories in recent months.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, the man tasked with investigating the numerous Downing Street parties, has been forced to step down after reports emerged that his office had its own Christmas party. Meanwhile, Tory MPs are briefing against one another and leaking stories to the press, and Steve Baker chucked Nadine Dorries out of the True Brexit Believers WhatsApp group.

While the party of government is spending much of its time tripping over its own feet, Omicron is running riot throughout the UK.

READ MORE: Tory MP suggests Lord Frost acting 'as outrider' for possible challenge to Boris Johnson

During interviews yesterday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid didn’t bring any good cheer – he wouldn’t rule out bringing in further restrictions for England before Christmas. Reminding us once again just how far Boris Johnson’s star has fallen, Andrew Marr asked Javid whether the Prime Minister was too weak and wounded to bring in new restrictions.

It’s an important point. Plan B, which amounted to little more than masks indoors and vaccine certification in certain settings, led to a huge rebellion on the Tory backbenches.

Labour would back further restrictions so the government still has the numbers to get any new measures through, but Johnson’s MPs would surely be baying for his blood if that ever came to be.

And this shows why all these stories about parties and Tory rule-breaking really matter. This is not just “Westminster bubble” stuff. It will inevitably have an impact on what comes next.

Within a matter of days, the data and dire warnings about Omicron could be so serious that Johnson – like other leaders across the UK – is forced to act. From a public health perspective, it’s hard to think of a figure who is less suited to taking that decision and delivering that news than him.

For weeks, newspapers have been filled with tales of Tories flouting the rules. Every time offenders have been caught, they’ve sought to minimise, deflect and find loopholes to save their skin. There’s an air of “ah-but!” in every statement released to justify their selfishness.

We’ve had disingenuous debates about what constitutes a party and whether boozing it up with your colleagues after hours counts if you were working earlier in the day.

Not for the first time, they insult our intelligence when they search for get-out clauses in this way. You get the sense that Tory rule-breakers feel terribly clever about spotting these nuances in the system that allow them to pretend that what they were doing wasn’t wrong.

It’s indicative of the mindset of this government. It views rule-breaking and underhand tactics as proof that they are smarter than the rest of us.

They’re not.

We all know the wee gaps in the restrictions that allow you to do more than you otherwise would under the rules.

You’re allowed to remove your mask on a train if you’re eating or drinking, but only the most insufferable of people would stick a lollypop in their mouth for the entire journey just to make some puerile point.

When you think of the character of Johnson, it’s easy to understand how this culture of rule-breaking developed within his party and beyond.

READ MORE: Downing Street panic as new tapes 'show ex aide quizzed on PM's private life'

He is the common denominator. Others carried on like this because they knew their behaviour was entirely in keeping with the values and actions of the man in charge. A man who – let’s not forget – is so utterly selfish that he couldn’t even be bothered wearing a mask in places where he should have; places where he knew he would be photographed.

He didn’t care about the example that was setting to ordinary people. Because he truly doesn’t care about anybody but himself.

If Scotland is plunged into new restrictions or, worse still, another lockdown, it will be difficult and distressing. Nobody wants it and few feel able to cope with it.

But that sense of solidarity will be easier to find knowing that we’re not being taken for fools in following restrictions that those in power treat like a pick ’n’ mix. If England faces new restrictions, ordinary folk will do what is asked of them, as they have every other time. They will do the responsible thing. But they have a right to feel angry.

Boris Johnson has lost the trust of his party and the public. Omicron poses a real threat to public health. Boris Johnson’s self-serving attitude to leadership does too.