SO, Boris Johnson is set to boldly go where even The Donald once feared to tread.

And that is nowhere.

By the time you read this, the Prime Minister might have resigned (unlikely), Dominic Raab might have followed Michael Gove into the Lion’s Chamber and been told to b****r off (likely), the Grey Men of the 1922 might have unilaterally changed the rules to permit a second leadership challenge (probable), but Boris might have called their bluff, and announced his intention to stay in Downing Street regardless.

What to do in the face of such totally unprecedented intransigence? Just leave them to it.

Each passing minute demonstrates the hopeless nature of the Old Boys’ Club that is Westminster. Faced with a stubborn, delusional and entitled Prime Minister – who clearly thinks he’s the personally appointed President of the UK – the much-lauded mechanisms of the Mother of Parliaments cannot get rid of him.

The National: There has been talk that Boris Johnson wants a rethink on the planned hike in the main corporation tax rate
Picture: Alberto Pezzali/ PA

Yesterday, Tory MP after MP bleated about Johnson’s lack of competence, honour or integrity – it was enough to gie self-respecting Scots the dry boak. But of course, these well-paid MPs had only given up on Boris because he lied to them – how very dare he – not because he’s lied to the entire electorate for years. Hell mend them.

He’ll go sometime – the important thing for Yessers is to get ahead of that curve.

Nicola Sturgeon has already exhibited good luck and/or good timing with last week’s announcement of an indy route-map so that Scots have been watching the slow car-crash of British governance with independence sitting clear as a beacon in the corner, as an alternative.

Of course, if a General Election does now ensue (unlikely if any new Tory leader actually wants to stay in power) the SNP must decide if it’s to become a de facto referendum too. Ian Blackford has provisionally said no, because the party’s plan is to get the Supreme Court verdict first. But with a Plan B (and C) now officially endorsed, there would be pressure on the SNP leadership to go for broke.

Certainly, now the genie is oot the bottle, the next General Election cannot weakly aim for just another mandate. The FM might consider a different proposition for a snap election – like Scotland’s right to hold another indyref.

One thing’s certain though.

A business-as-usual snap election campaign by the SNP won’t cut it now.

And from a Yes perspective – that’s another useful by-product of last week’s announcement.

By contrast, Keir Starmer’s decision on Monday to repudiate the EU, embrace Brexit (in his characteristically lukewarm way) and rule out ever re-joining the single market, has given Scots some long-awaited clarity.

The only way we can become EU citizens again is as part of an independent country. And that’s official cause Sir Keir just told us. Thanks for clearing that up so convincingly.

It was a strange moment for the Labour leader to finally jump aboard the sinking Good Ship Brexit – with the credibility of the Leave campaign in tatters thanks to the political demise of its main protagonist.

Bad timing for Labour. But good timing for indy.

The National: Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar during First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh. Picture date: Thursday June 16, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SCOTLAND Questions. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA

I’m not sure the Labour leader retrieved his weakened standing with Remain Scots by endorsing Anas Sarwar’s (above) comments about Putin’s preference for a “divided” UK and independent Scotland. Putin’s actual preference is evidently for a vast unitary state, tightly controlled from Moscow and all too ready to repress its own indigenous people, ignore borders and intimidate neighbouring countries. If I was the nominal head of the No camp, I’d find Russia’s top-down democracy a tad too close for comfort and leave Putin out of it.

I’d also sidestep Sarwar’s talk of creating a legal “duty” to make the UK and Scottish Governments co-operate.

Quite apart from the fact that this is beyond the power of an MSP to deliver and the unfortunate timing as the UK Government demonstrates considerable difficulty cooperating with itself – the quest for legally enforced cooperation rather gives the game away.

You design cooperation into systems. You can’t legally enforce it.

The problem is that Westminster is designed for confrontation, clash and combat.

The first past the post voting system – unchanged by Labour Governments – gives unassailable majorities to Tory governments with a minority of the popular vote. What does that do but encourage arrogance, excess, unaccountability and a culture of impunity?

Yet no real demand exists south of the border to change things.

Because arrogance works. Might is right. And Boris is admired because he is the embodiment of empty entitlement and privileged defiance.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson rejects Nicola Sturgeon's Section 30 order as his Cabinet falls apart

Boris isn’t a terrible one-off, democratic accident. He’s a skilful populist who’s captured a terrible democratic system leaving significant parts of the English electorate unable to digest difficult political realities without the sugar coating of a colourful personality and empty, vainglorious promises about the future.

This is what British democracy conjures up around the world. Not excellence, fairness or efficiency.

But theatre, drama, spectacle and rhetoric.

Posh men and women jousting like medieval warriors. Not saying liar to a liar. Not clapping when they agree.

It’s mesmerising to our European neighbours, because no other properly functioning democracy would tolerate this shameful debacle.

They’ll watch Prime Ministers’ Questions – just as they watch Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey – because it’s entertainment. They watch because it isn’t their reality. It’s ours.

And, they’ll miss Boris when he goes – a man who not only thrives in the fetid atmosphere of the despatch box, but needs that level of theatre, attention and adrenalin to function at all.

Look at yesterday’s woeful performance in the “whaoh, whaoh” free Commons Liaison Committee.

Faced with a bunch of razor-sharp, well-briefed political minds (yes, even Tories) Boris Johnson was soon flailing like a man drowning.

“I believe no Ukrainian asylum seekers are homeless,” says Boris.

“Official info says there are 600,” says Tory Caroline Noakes MP.

“Did you meet ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev without officials as Foreign Secretary on a 2018 trip to Italy?”

The answer is yes.

“Did you report that meeting?”


The National:

Each member forced Boris expertly through policies he clearly knew nothing about – from road pricing to trafficking Ukrainian asylum seekers and the actual dimensions of imperial measures.

The proof was there for all to see – he is simply a clueless, friendless place-holder in Number 10 contributing nothing to our greater good. No reason for him to stay.

And yet the music hall act (probably) remains in place.

Because south of the border, so many folk need the illusion, the saccharine smile, the empty assurance, the othering, the Trumpian bombast. That’s what sits behind the oft-repeated mantra that Boris is still in place, because no-one else can fill his shoes.

That’s no compliment.

No-one else can deliver the fix that delays that horrible moment of realisation that all the certainties of Global Britain are fake.

And he is a master. Completely suspending disbelief, requires decades of practice, a personality educated to radiate utter self-confidence and an electorate that craves the political sugar-rush of a Big Dog, however transparent.

Happily though, the sweet-toothed Scots remain completely immune.

So however long it takes for Boris to go and whoever replaces him, we’ll be ready.

Because Scots were never hoodwinked in the first place.