by Colin Campbell
THE SNP/nationalists are piling in with a predictable mixture of venom and glee over the departure of Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings.
According to them, their least favourite “buffoon” is all at sea again.
That’s one way of looking at it – the wishful thinking way they always adopt.
But that’s far from being the only way to view Cummings’ sudden exit, although as usual they’d have their teeth pulled out with rusty pliers before admitting it.
And the alternative scenario is not a good one for them.
The Prime Minister resolutely, stubbornly, intransigently, unshakably, immovably stood by Cummings earlier in the year when he breached coronavirus restrictions with a car trip to the north of England.
He was assailed from all sides, including by his own backbenchers and the Tory supporting press.
But Boris would not budge, and Cummings stayed in his job.
Now, following internal unrest in Downing Street, he has axed him with an unmistakeable element of ruthlessness.
When it was time for him to go, he was unceremoniously booted out.
The SNP’s “buffoon” characterisation of Johnson implies indecision, uncertainty and weakness. And when in a few months time they demand from him a section 30 order for another independence referendum they will be desperately hoping all these failings are evident.
They are liable, bordering on certain, to be disappointed.
There is no doubt Johnson has been at least partly responsible for confusion and mixed messages during the pandemic. Although whether he has done any worse than Nicola Sturgeon or the leaders of France, Spain, Italy and Germany, all facing lockdowns and rising infection levels, is open to question.
But when it comes to making straightforward decisions which don’t require Cobra meetings or a mass of conflicting advice from scientific “experts”, his track record is that he doesn’t mess around, as Dominic Cummings has just found out.
He has already said “there are no circumstances” in which he will approve a section 30 order for a legal – and much emphasis has to be placed on the word “legal” – second referendum.
Do the SNP/nationalists believe he will stick by that cast iron commitment? Or do they really still hope he will dither, waver and buckle in the face of their usual mantra that his opposition to indyref2 will be “untenable” and “unsustainable”.
If it’s the latter yet again they’re living in fantasy land.
Their section 30 demand will be rejected by a Prime Minister with an 80 seat majority, you could stake your house on it.
And then what do they do? Rather than gloating over Cummings’ departure, I’d say it’s time they got working in overdrive on their mysterious and obscure “Plan B”.
The problem for them is they haven’t got a credible or workable or most importantly legal Plan B. That much is crystal clear.
Boris Johnson’s opposition to another referendum is “sustainable” precisely for as long as he wants it to be, which will be throughout his four remaining years in office. When they next clash with their favourite “buffoon” the SNP/nationalists will again find that out.