A SENSE of guilty elation has suffused the senses of Scottish independence supporters following Boris Johnson’s accession to the UK premiership.

Thus, it seems their most stygian nightmare and their most fervent hope have merged to form an uncertain entente. How many of them while abjuring Mr Johnson and all his works also secretly desired, and with some ardour, his elevation? If something wicked must first this way come to pave the way for a greater good, then let it be.

An assortment of recent polls, though not enough to be considered a fissile chain, seemed to provide credence to such patterns of thought. After all, this man is never more than a few days away from insulting another section of the population whose existence his family’s wealth and Eton’s privileges had concealed from him.

There’ll be another along in a minute and then another and it’ll just be a matter of swooping in with a referendum during peak Boris.

Sometimes you need to cut these classes some slack when they encounter real people with normal problems and ugly voices. They’re like Bambis on ice, flailing around and bumping into people as they discover painfully that different rules apply beyond their walled gardens.

When you realise you need the ‘normals’ to help you fulfil what you consider to be your destiny it can be a messy and untidy business. Phoebe and Annabel and Nigel had all laughed when he yelled about piccaninnies and bum-boys and verminous Scots while riding a scooter through the offices of The Spectator; why did no-one tell him that this sort of japery doesn’t always go down well with the proles?

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And so the Scottish nationalists all nurtured their secret glee. Has there ever been anyone more un-Scottish than Boris Johnson? Has anyone seemed to represent a system, a time, a set of core beliefs; an entire way of being that was less Scottish? Now we simply need to relax, sit back and let Boris be Boris. Our work here is done. That his time has come with the onset of Brexit winter is a bonus, isn’t it? Even Mark Carney says so. The governor of the Bank of England for whom candour is the eighth deadly sin has begun talking about recession and the rising cost of food and petrol if we exit the EU without a deal. Mr Johnson has even helpfully picked a cabinet that lists so far to the right that they make Nigel Farage look like Yosser Hughes.

It’s at this point, though, that I’d urge caution and encourage the SNP and its followers to overcome any feelings of over-confidence, even hubris. Scots and swagger do not mix well and it always leaves us looking foolish.

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When the time comes the Yes strategists must begin with the premise that they will be dealing with a highly skilled politician who owns a bank of charisma that engulfs anything possessed by each of the previous champions of the Union. To become Prime Minister of Britain has been Mr Johnson’s life’s work and when his time came he ensured he was in exactly the right position to strike for it. He didn’t merely exploit the chaos; he created it.

At Westminster last week SNP MPs were quick to disdain his first Commons speech as an arm-waving exercise in un-costed bluster. The manner in which they did so and the volume of their scorn betrayed something approaching fear. Johnson was electrifying at the Despatch Box and, within half an hour, had won over many of those within his own party. There’s a reason why he won the Tory leadership contest virtually unopposed and this despite the loud and unpleasant domestic that aroused the attention of the constabulary; not to mention the opprobrium within his party at the public humiliation of his wife and children as he moved his lover into the most coveted house in England.

Mr Johnson is good at what he does. And there’s little to suggest that what English voters find attractive in him – compelling even – a number of Scots beyond the Conservative constituency will do also. There may be far fewer of them but that may still be enough to make the crucial difference.

Nor has Dominic Cummings, arguably the best political strategist in the English-speaking world, been drafted simply to sell a No Deal Brexit and negotiate a tricky general election. Mr Cummings is already working to sell No to the Scots. You under-estimate these two at your peril.

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My old friend and colleague Iain Martin, the respected right-wing commentator, once told me that people have been under-estimating Boris Johnson for his entire adulthood. Nothing is unrehearsed or off-the-cuff, he told me a few years ago; his genius is making it appear so.

In a second independence referendum he will present a stiffer challenge than either Theresa May or David Cameron could have mustered. Cameron rarely gave the impression he actually cared about the Union while Mrs May would simply have struggled to convince anyone that she would ever smile again.

It didn’t help that the SNP embarked on its arrogant and self-indulgent meddling with the Northern Ireland devolved arrangements. They just couldn’t help themselves. And nor could some of the more delinquent and insufferable of their Westminster glee club scarce forbear to cheer and gloat on social media. That little stunt will come back to bite them during the second referendum, and how. It will feature in every televised debate whenever Ms Sturgeon talks about Westminster power-grabs and being dragged out of Europe against Scotland’s will. “But it didn’t stop you trampling over the will of Northern Ireland’s elected representatives, did it?”

The SNP will be committing a grave error if they make their independence strategy all about Boris Johnson. Certainly, the mounting Brexit toll in jobs, higher prices and lost businesses will help offset the GERS factor in the next referendum. This though can be deceptive and Mr Johnson, aided by the electronic black arts of Mr Cummings, will seek to use chaos to preach caution: “There may come a time when Scotland can be independent,” I can hear them say, “But that time is not now.”

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Thus far, many Yes supporters are doing little more than pointing at Mr Johnson and yelling, “He’s a toff and he says bad things about people.” The new Prime Minister knows he must up his game but so too will the SNP.