IT’S somehow fitting that one of Boris Johnson’s last acts before being dragged screaming to finally announce that he would at some unspecified time be leaving Downing Street was to once more stand against the Scottish Government’s clear and democratic mandate to hold a second referendum on independence.

Johnson and democracy have never been on more than nodding terms. He clung to the falsehood that the Conservative Party had the moral authority to govern Scotland, even after it failed to return more than six Tory MPs to Westminster and gain more than 25.1% of the vote at the last UK General Election.

The SNP, by comparison, currently has 44 Westminster MPs and won 45% of the vote. Johnson’s response is to repeatedly belittle those MPs, mock them and fat-shame their leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford.

READ MORE: BBC 'depicts false balance' of Scots' views on Boris Johnson's resignation

When Nicola Sturgeon – leader of a party victorious in eight UK, Holyrood and council elections – suggests she will act on the undeniable mandate those victories gave her to hold a second independence referendum, Johnson had the arrogance to say he will not “allow’’ it.

That block on indyref2 cannot stand. The Prime Minister who ruled out another vote is heading for the door, whether within months, weeks, hours or even minutes. Not only that, there is currently no functioning government to even form a response to whatever opinion is handed down from the Supreme Court.

These are unprecedented times, which underline the importance of independence to give Scotland a chance to form a stable government built on solid democratic roots and with a moral compass capable of negotiating our way through the crumbling ruins of the British state. Current circumstances demand that Scotland must have the right to exit a crisis which has taken a sledgehammer to the promises made which led to a No vote in 2014.

Not only have we been dragged out of the EU against our will, we have been denied even the appearance of being an equal partner, robbed of the resources which could make us a renewable energy powerhouse and told to “suck it up’’. The entire Better Together case for the Union put forward to Scottish voters in 2014 is now demolished. When indyref2 is held – and it will be held, in whatever form – ­independence is the only option which will offer anything resembling democracy.

In unprecedented times, of course, it is impossible to be sure of what will happen next.

Let’s examine some of the possible options – even the most unlikely – and work out which offer the highest possibility of independence.

Option 1:

Boris Johnson is persuaded/forced to leave quickly, a new leader is appointed from the list of nobodies and nutters who comprise the main contenders for his job and order is restored, even if temporarily.

This is a possible outcome, but is still fraught with problems. None of the possible successors is likely to adopt a different stance on indyref2. The fact that the moral case is irrefutable will cut no ice. Morality is the Conservative Party’s lowest priority, as can be seen from the actions of those who sided with Johnson when they thought it would save their political skins only to dump him when it became obvious their careers would be over if they did not.

There is no doubt Johnson doesn’t want to go until he is good and ready. His blaming the “herd instinct’’ for his downfall will infuriate his party who’ll step up efforts to get him out as quickly as possible.

This option pretty much leaves the SNP with the strategy it has already announced – get a ruling on a referendum’s legality from the Supreme Court, and if that’s refused, fight a general election solely on the independence question – albeit with a much stronger argument to make on the benefits of leaving the UK. It may not have much impact on the timing of a second independence referendum, but it certainly boosts the case of independence itself.

Option 2:

Johnson limps on for a few months before he finally rides off into the sunset. The myriad of empty government posts are filled either by new faces or by those who quit but are persuaded to come back to “get the country through the mess’’.

This would allow a cobbled-together UK Government to function until a new Prime Minister is installed. It seems inconceivable that a decision on an issue as crucial as Scotland’s independence would remain in the hands of a caretaker, discredited Prime Minister. That issue, of course, is perhaps the only one that unites most of Boris Johnson’s enemies and allies south of the Border, so it’s hard to see this option creating an opportunity to win a Westminster vote on whether to grant a section 30 order and allow indyref2 to take place under the same arrangement as indyref1.

Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary appointed by Boris Johnson and who remained at least outwardly supportive of him, would normally be at risk of losing the post in a reshuffle. But surely Douglas Ross couldn’t juggle yet another job. Whoever is appointed is almost certain to continue to attempt to block indyref2.

Option 3:

A snap general election.

This option has been the subject of much fevered speculation. In the hours just before Boris Johnson announced his intention to stand down had been suggested he might call a surprise general election as an alternative.

Did he have the power to do so? Technically yes, but he would need the permission of the Queen to dissolve Parliament and hold a poll. She would almost certainly have agreed to avoid a constitutional crisis, but it would have been a controversial decision which the Prime Minister was reportedly urged not to force on the monarch.

The benefits to Johnson of an election would be the opportunity to show if and to what extent he still had the public’s support. It would have sent his critics a message that even after a string of scandals he could still deliver electoral success. It would have been risky – he could have lost and even a success would almost certainly have reduced his majority – but this lame duck Prime Minister has never been averse to taking risks.

The National: 'The politics of Trump and Boris Johnson represent the opposite of such a consensus'

Johnson seems to have turned his back on the option of calling an election himself, although the nuclear option remains that he still might do so with the backing of new cabinet placelings thereby tearing apart his own party. That’s what Donald Trump (above right) would do in a similar situation. Even if he does eventually leave without another fight, his successor could still call an election to win their own mandate and prolong their own term of office. Both the SNP and the Labour Party have called for such an election, although for different reasons.

The Labour Party because it stands the best chance of defeating the Tories and forming the next UK Government. The most recent poll by BMG Research just days ago suggested Labour could win a majority in such an election. Even if it failed, it could still do coalition deals with other opposition parties, most likely the LibDems.

It’s hard to imagine a deal with the SNP, as the price would almost certainly be a Section 30 order for indyref2. Labour’s stance on indyref2 is every bit as hardline as the Tories, even if more of its members are coming round to the idea. Just days ago, its leader Keir Starmer displayed his own wobbly grasp on democracy by vowing to block an independence referendum even if the SNP wins more than 50 of the popular vote at the next General Election.

The SNP’s current strategy – if the Supreme Court rules out the legality of a referendum not supported by a Section 30 – is to fight the next UK General Election as a de facto referendum. It would then claim a majority of votes in favour of pro-independence parties is a mandate for beginning independence talks.

It’s not yet completely clear if that would be the case in a snap general election ahead of 2024 but it certainly should. Otherwise, we run the risk of having to wait another five years if the supreme court rules indyref2 AFTER a snap election.

During those five years, Scotland would be kept imprisoned in the Union, with Westminster insisting there was no legitimate route to independence. That’s an undeniable case for independence, but it tries to undermine any way of achieving it.

The events of the last few days show the need for Scotland to gain its independence has never been more necessary and never been so urgent.

Nicola Sturgeon is absolutely right to seek legal clarity on indyref 2 and absolutely right to have an alternative strategy if that legality is not established. She is absolutely right to say Boris Johnson was never fit for office and also to insist that the problems with the Union run far deeper than the failings of just one man.

With or without a Supreme Court ruling, a snap general election gives us the chance to establish that Scotland now considers the Union no longer fit for purpose and is beyond saving or even recalibrating; to say clearly that Scotland’s best interests can only be served by establishing a fairer, more equal and more progressive country free from its crumbling institutions and its outdated constrictions.

We should seize that opportunity without delay, without apology and without asking anyone’s permission. Bring it on.