BEFORE Boris hit the buffers – and gawd almighty, could there have been a slower rail crash? – the English media briefly had tartan fish to fry.

The London-based commentariat doesn’t always afford Scotland more than a passing glance, but when the FM had the temerity simultaneously to rattle the bars of the Supreme Court’s cage and suggest the next General Election could be a plebiscite, London’s laptop warriors felt obliged to weigh in.

Some of them, on the basis of the odd hit and run north of Berwick, have ­persuaded themselves that they’re well across the ­nuances of the Scottish political ­condition, even if their well-rehearsed arguments against independence and all its works would suggest otherwise.

Others, more generously inclined souls, are prepared to bring a touch of dispassion to the equation before sorrowfully concluding that their northern cousins are bound, once more for disappointment. But hey ho!

A common thread to most of these “think” pieces, however, is reaching for sundry analogies to reinforce the point. Quebec often has a starring role here, ­having demonstrated that however narrow the vote, two strikes and you’re out.

Given this potent example, it is usually concluded it may be no bad thing to let the children have another shot at squaring their constitutional circle, after which they can be safely stowed back in their box.

An even more common and stern ­lecture doesn’t even entertain the holding of any such poll, as it’s abundantly clear that such weighty considerations are nobody’s ­business but Westminster’s. Look where it says just that in the small print.

As it happens, I have been spending the week with English friends south of the ­border, and, in between bouts of Boris ­baiting, the conversation often turned to why on earth would anyone in possession of half a brain want to break up Britain.

I had a very lengthy conversation along these lines with a long-standing friend whom I tried to persuade of the need for ­independence, given Scotland’s long-standing history of separate nationhood and the dubious manner in which this ­allegedly consensual Union came about.

I have to admit all of this fell on stony soil. After all, she advised me, Wessex used to be a separate kingdom whose writ ran over much of the south of England, and it came to a natural end when England’s assorted ancient fiefdoms were welded together.

What she didn’t mention was that ­Wessex was doing its thing initially in the sixth century, and ceased to have any ­autonomy after 1066.

Yet her attitude is far from unique. Whilst there is widespread apathy about Scotland’s bid for independence in some quarters – and no shortage of ignorance on who is subsidised by whom – the polling increasingly illustrates how opinion in England has steadily shifted.

Not shifted in a sudden ­enthusiastic embrace of Scotland’s ambitions for full statehood; rather a post-Brexit ­alacrity for England to go it alone – not just ­untying its links to mainland Europe, but ­jettisoning these troublesome jocks whilst they’re at it.

What is discernibly on the march in the nationalist stakes is the English variety. You see it in the ubiquitous use of the flag of St George – which, in fairness, makes rather more sense than flying the Union flag – and you see it in the whole “taking back control” narrative morphing into, Jerusalem style, a visceral attachment to England’s “green and pleasant land”.

Less attractively, you see it in the ­shifting attitudes to migration, as ­personified by the truly malign Priti Patel. When the ­economic going gets tough, there are many historical precedents for the tough to blame it all on nasty foreigners.

That would be these foreigners who have been virtually prevented from ­accessing any legal routes to settling in the UK. ­Unless, of course, they were ­oligarchs or similar, with more than healthy bank balances and an inclination to point some of those readies in the direction of the Conservative war chest.

The outgoing PM, in one of his now ­customary vague recollections of ­dubious behaviour, advised us this last week that he might have remembered to tell his ­officials of a meeting with the former KGB officer and father of Evgeny ­Lebedev. Then again, of course, he might not.

Lebedev Junior, a long-time mate and holiday provider for Johnson, was the ­subject of much MI6 concern when they vetted his proposed ennoblement. ­Typically, the PM gave him a peerage ­anyway and has always declined to make public the security service advice.

Talking of what the about-to-be-ex PM managed to find time for last week, when you might reasonably have thought he had a couple of other things on his mind, he did locate a moment in which to ­dispatch his latest dizzie to the FM, ­refusing to ­contemplate a Section 30 order to make the referendum indisputably legal. Or maybe he just got a minion to recycle his previous note. Whatever.

AMID all the other dramas, spare a thought for the Tory MPs and MSPs in Scotland whose sparse numbers in no way interferes with their enthusiasm for explaining to their fellow Scots and the Scottish Government where they are all going wrong. I was particularly taken with a social media post from a couple of them talking about how desperate the Scottish Government was.

Well there are not many lessons in ­political deportment I’m prepared to take from this mouthy rump, but I do concede that – in desperation – they probably do have the essential personal experience.

I hesitate to predict a future for those Conservative souls whose indecision about the PM was pretty well final, even after the tousled one had finally conceded bogey status to the game outside the front door of his London gaff.

In any event, such is the speed of ­political events these days, that any writer who makes predictions at half past three is likely to be proved wrong a couple of hours later.

What I will say is that just as I ­resent having to ask permission from ­Westminster for anything, I am equally reluctant to bow before the opinions of England-based journalists – or indeed that section of the English-voting public who know there will always be an England so who much cares about the Celts and their whinging?

I’d like to think that was a tiny ­minority, but I’m mindful of a poll taken not so long back which suggested that England was split 51/49% as to whether or not they backed England to go it alone. A ­strikingly similar percentage to our own dear battleground.

As I am currently enjoying generous and pleasant hospitality in the English home of my friend, it behoves me to say that this sentiment is in no way ­personal. Supporters of Labour in Scotland are wont to advise us indy-friendly folk that we are abandoning solidarity with ­English workers and obsessed only with our own future.

To which I would make just three ­observations: It is not only possible, but wholly ­desirable to continue to offer support to our friends in the south – most especially those who have been just as appalled as we are about the growing departure of ­anything resembling standards in the Johnson administration.

It is a truth not yet universally acknowledged that when we are freed from the current rancorous UK Government, our relationships with our long-time friends and neighbours can only improve.

And, finally, we all have different views as to why we were put on this planet of ours.

Of this though, I am fairly sure: we were not born as Scots with a special mission to save England from itself. That bit they WILL have to manage for themselves. Thursday’s long-delayed resignation was a decent start.