Boris Johnson is our new prime minister. Let those words resonate.
We knew it was coming, of course, but when it finally did there was a sense of the surreal. And that was only further cemented by his appointment of a man who was the architect of the Vote Leave campaign and just four months ago had been found in contempt of parliament as his chief aide.
And with that two-fingered salute to the more moderate Tories who hadn’t voted him in to No 10, he cut through Theresa May’s Cabinet like a maniac brandishing a scythe in a wheat field, sacking more than half of them and packing his team with Vote Leave veterans and right-wing free marketers who had all swallowed the Kool Aid and signed up to the prospect of a No Deal.
In contrast to May’s pledge to lead a regime that worked for everyone rather than being driven by the interests of a privileged few, Johnson has created a government of extreme right-wingers.
And, in a clear show of his contempt for what anyone else thinks, he has brought back into the fold a whole host of MPs who have been shamed, sacked or berated by his predecessor.
And Johnson’s choice for Secretary of State for Scotland, a multi-millionaire land owner and Brexiteer who has dismissed Scotland’s 62% Remain vote as no more important than Wales’s choice to leave. At least, he represents Scots, PM Johnson’s newly appointed under-secretary of state at the Scotland Office is Robin Walker…MP for Worcester.
With this Cabinet, Johnson has shown, explicitly and ruthlessly, that he will do what he wants, when he wants. His show of power will have given Ruth Davidson, who has been uncharacteristically quiet, absolutely no comfort at all and could spell the end of the brief revival of the Tory party in Scotland.
It’s a paradox of devolution that as powers have shifted from Westminster to Scotland the powers of the UK political parties over their Scottish counterparts have not.
It might be politically expedient for Davidson to portray the party she leads in Scotland as different from the one Boris Johnson leads across the UK but if she was to formally sever the tie, mooted by some, it would be fatal to her USP as a unionist.
It would be an inept kind of unionist who can’t even keep her own party together and would also remove the one sop she can offer Scots sceptics – access to levers of power in No 10.
Davidson’s attempts to pretend she was in the Tory party but different, have been exposed by the election of a right-wing PM, a bargain-store Trump, who has littered Britain with his slurs against gay people, black people, and Muslim people, who has asked an anti-abortionist to be leader of the House and who, with a dwindling majority, will depend even more on the bonds with the DUP.
The dilemma for Davidson going forward, if she does, will be where she can find common ground with her party leader and how she then sells that to Scotland as a price worth paying to stay in a union her party has helped fracture.