THE fall of Rome was not an event but a process, stretching over hundreds of years. The decline and fall of Britain is proving much, much faster.

For there is a deep insecurity in the state of the United Kingdom and this on the very brink of Her Majesty the Queen’s platinum jubilee.

Earlier this week I was in a London completely festooned with Union flags, preparing to party while the old, the poor, the working classes, and indeed those on middle incomes, ponder on how they can possibly heat their homes this coming winter.

Britain’s ultimate party animal, the Prime Minister, continues to dominate the news and apparently the great question of state is how many times did he buck fizz his own Covid regulations. Scotland’s Vicar of Bray, Douglas Ross, ponders on whether he should double back on his own U-turn and call once again for the Prime Minister’s resignation. All Ross does is to prove on a daily basis that you don’t have to fall over while running the line at a football match to look completely and utterly ridiculous.

Add to this comprehensive disarray, a Labour Party awash in its own beergate controversy, a House of Commons sinking in sleaze allegations, a senior SNP spokesman who apparently believes that “inflation is good for savers” and you have the established Westminster political parties fiddling in frippery, while the House burns down.

Of course Her Majesty the Queen has seen it all, and generations of politicians have been here today and gone tomorrow in her long reign. She is the one enduring class act in the disunited Kingdom but never can she have witnessed such displacement activity with major issues left unaddressed while minor politicians make fools of themselves.

If Brexit is done, then so is the UK. Northern Ireland is semi-detached, Scotland is going, Wales is restive, the North is asleep but all is well because Pall Mall is adorned in flags.

The Westminster Government is drunk in office and incapable of fashioning any revival agenda for this fundamentally sick state. Take the staggering response to the emergence of Sinn Fein as the dominant party in the north of Ireland.

The evidence shows that the Northern Ireland protocol is working, that the province is outperforming the rest of the UK economically and that a clear majority of the Assembly want to keep the protocol, albeit in amended form. After all it avoided a hard border and renewed civic unrest in the island of Ireland.

And what exactly does Johnson propose? His solution is to renege on an international treaty and risk a trade war to address a problem which does not, in reality, exist. The difficulty for England is not the failure of the Northern Irish protocol but it’s success.

It has placed the province on a motorway to Irish unity which will soon have no exits as the prevailing economic winds blow ever more strongly from north to south instead of east to west.

But for Johnson nothing fails like success. He may not give an Eton mess for the people of Northern Ireland but he does not want England’s province to fall into the hands of prosperity and progress, at least not on his watch. What profit Boris if Northern Ireland gains the whole of Europe but he personally is remembered for losing one of the final remnants of Empire – the Lord North of Northern Ireland!

And where does Scotland stand in all this disarray of the Union? Apparently the starting gun has been fired yet again in yet another preparation for yet another process of begging for yet another section 30, to enable the “gold standard” referendum.

Meanwhile the rather important day job of getting the ferries built, the health service working, the economy moving, the census filled in and the trains running on time (or even at all) goes a-begging.

None of this is at all necessary. Set the day and set the hour for a referendum and if Boris continues to baulk at democracy, prepare the people for an independence election – and for goodness sake get a move on because England’s present difficulty is Scotland’s current opportunity.

Meanwhile back in Horseguards Parade the flags will be a flying and the bells a ringing. Rule Britannia will be the chorus, but the band will be playing believe it if you like.