WHETHER or not Boris Johnson survives to remain as Britain’s Prime Minister, the unfolding drama surrounding his penchant for a party has revealed nothing that is good about democracy in the UK.

It’s hard to find an issue that pulls together these divided islands, but revulsion over Downing Street partying while the rest of us were sacrificing the human contact which makes life worth living is as close to universal as its possible to get.

It’s not only those who find Tory values repellent who have found the hypocrisy impossible to stomach. Even right-wing monarchists have been alienated by the almost unbelievable arrogance of those who chose to flout the Covid restrictions on the very day that the Queen sat alone and broken-hearted at the funeral of her husband. I’ve talked to staunch republicans who dream of seeing the monarchy crumble who admit to being moved almost to tears by those pictures of an old woman so desolate in her isolation.

There can surely be no-one in Britain who believes that the Prime Minister has responded truthfully to any of the mounting allegations against him. Any lingering trust in Boris Johnson’s honesty must have been demolished by that brilliant Led by Donkeys video which this week so cleverly portrayed the hapless head of government being grilled by the forensic investigators of Line of Duty’s AC-12.

In just a few days, millions have watched this superb parody in which humour underlines rather than obscures a seething anger at Boris Johnson’s bare-faced cheek.

READ MORE: Line of Duty team interrogates Boris Johnson in fantastic Led By Donkeys clip

“Mother of God, you must think we were born yesterday fella”, a clearly exasperated Ted Hastings tells Johnson in the video. “If you have got one shred of compassion for all those families who sacrificed so much, who lost so much you’ll go … and let them have done with you.”

It’s a devastatingly serious slice of satire of the type which has all but disappeared from British television screens in recent years, made even more powerful when you consider how impossible it is to imagine real police officers lifting a finger to question the Prime Minister no matter how incriminating the evidence against him.

It’s obvious that police officers simply cannot have remained unaware of the regular drinking parties taking place at Downing Street and yet they did nothing.

The Met Police inaction and the disastrous TV performance of its chief Cressida Dick is more proof that democracy demands a way of making senior police officers accountable to the public they service. It’s just as unacceptable for Cressida Dick to simply repeat that her force is impartial and “acts without fear or favour” as it is for Boris Johnson to insist like a broken record that no rules had been broken when all evidence points to the contrary conclusion.

But just as we are unable to demand justice from our senior police officers, we are unable to do anything to achieve the necessary removal of Boris Johnson from an office his behaviour has so tarnished.

He’s not the first prime minister who deserved to be kicked out. Tony Blair engaged in a groundless war against Saddam Hussein, a dictator guilty of many terrible sins but not, according to the scanty evidence presented, the perpetrator of the 9/11 attack on America or of preparing to use weapons of mass destitution against the West.

Voters could do nothing but watch as Blair lied as his gutless cronies in the Labour party were prepared to see hundreds of thousands of people die rather than call him out.

And today voters can do nothing but watch as Boris Johnson makes fools of us all. The only people with the power to get rid of him are in his own party and it’s far from certain they will do so.

The National:

AT the time of writing, we know that six Conservative MPs have publicly declared they have no confidence in the Prime Minister, including the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross. Reports suggest more are thought to have submitted letters of no confidence to Graham Brady, the chairman of the party’s backbench 1922 Committee. We have no idea, however, how close they are to the 54 letters needed to trigger a no confidence vote among Tory MPs and a possible leadership election.

The Tories have kicked out a sitting prime minister before, of course. Theresa May resigned in 2019 to avoid losing a second no confidence vote among Tory MPs. Margaret Thatcher’s three election victories and success in the Falklands War did not protect her when party grandees decided her time was up. She was ousted by Michael Heseltine and Geoffrey Howe in 1990. Howe’s attack on Thatcher in his resignation speech and Heseltine’s subsequent leadership challenge are still regarded by some Tories as unforgivable acts of treachery.

Thatcher withdrew from the leadership contest after being advised by leading party figures that she would not win. Boris Johnson looks unlikely to go so quietly even if enough MPs take the action necessary to trigger such a contest. Downing Street sources have already insisted he will fight any challenge.

It is an affront to democracy that there is no mechanism for allowing a country so furious at the actions of a Prime Minister to show its displeasure until the next election a good two years away.

Of course, electoral calculations will be a driving force behind whatever actions Tory MPs take. If they are convinced that Johnston will be a liability, they will get rid of him. If they consider that he still represents the party’s best chance of success in May 2024 they will not. Morals have little to do with it.

The latest opinion polls paint an unclear picture. A recent survey by Redfield and Wilton showed the Labour vote to rise to 13 points ahead of the Tories … the party’s highest figure since March 2018.

Yet separate polling for Channel 4 by Opinium shows that just 25% of Tory members believe Johnson should resign and 63% believe he should stay on. Why should the decision on whether the Prime Minister remains in office rest in the hands of Tory MPs whose success depends on his patronage?

READ MORE: Tory support in 'Red Wall' plummets after Boris Johnson scandals, poll finds

It’s not clear what the alternative is. The British electoral system is based on the premise that voters elect a party and not a prime minister. There are benefits to that system. For instance, it to some extent avoids the personality politics which scar American elections.

Nonetheless the character, principles and performance of British party leaders undoubtedly influence the decisions of voters and indeed the direction and actions of the government they lead.

Surely if a prime minister breaks the law and simply refuses to take the honourable course and resign there needs to be some penalty? There should be some form of impeachment process involving members of all parties and perhaps even from beyond narrow political boundaries. And those elected to take part in that process should have the power to remove that prime minister from office, not simply recommend that they stand down.

Of course, there are dangers within that system too. The impeachment committee would have to be truly representative and the decision-making process would have to include safeguards to prevent politically-motivated manipulations. But it would surely be better than allowing a small group of politicians with a questionable mandate to decide if a discredited prime minister should remain in office. But, of course, it will never happen in a United Kingdom incapable of radical action to share power.

The Johnson shambles is another fatal flaw in a UK with a massive black hole where democracy should be. It highlights a system where Scotland is regularly hamstrung by a government it did not vote for, damaged by decisions it voted against and now lumbered with a political leader it longs to remove.

It’s not just the intellectual vacuity and moral bankruptcy of Johnson that makes it essential that Scotland breaks free from a UK hurtling towards the knacker’s yard… it’s the fact that whoever is “in charge” to remain in the Union itself condemns us to forever be shut out of wherever the big decisions on our future are made.