When you find yourself, after about 14 hours, still stuck in front of BBC Parliament at nearly two in the morning, it’s perhaps natural to find bits of Robert Burns rattling round your mind. The crowlin, impudence and strunt were certainly lousy.

But even their own channel, now getting the same kind of viewing figures as MTV, don’t seem to have given the ugly, creepin, blasted wonners the giftie of seeing themselves as the poor audience does. Of course, many people watching this stuff will be doing so from their own partisan bubble of political preconceptions, but the lack of self-awareness within Westminster is at another level entirely.

To hold up placards, as many MPs did, that read “silenced” when they’d just spent an entire day (bar a two-hour interlude, granted by the Speaker at this moment of national urgency, to hymn the magnificence of John Bercow) blethering about why they alone are the voice of the people is absurd. The voice of the people is saying: “Shut it, you preposterous windbag, and come up with some useful suggestion for sorting this out.”

This can be the only reason why Boris Johnson, despite failing to win a single Parliamentary vote so far, is still ahead in the polls. Given what happened to Theresa May, and the week he has had, that could easily change, and may not, in any case, be enough for a majority. But at the moment, the Tories lead by between three and 14 points (the average is about 10 points clear).

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You wouldn’t know it from the atmosphere in the Commons, from most of the media coverage or, it must be conceded, from majority opinion in Scotland. One reason for that is that only the political professionals, or the obsessive partisans, are still to be heard in the argument. Everyone else, as in most conversations that are hijacked by maniacs, has given up on contributing.

In the Commons, almost everyone has some reasonable justification for his or her stance, but it has blinded them to all points against. Most voters, though, can see that the Government may be technically right that it has the power to prorogue Parliament, and also that it’s a blatant political wheeze to give itself more chances of getting its way.

Similarly, Parliament has a clear majority against no deal, and is entitled to try to frustrate it, but we may still reasonably ask what an extension is for, if there is no mandate for an alternative course of action. Most absurd of all is constantly to demand a General Election, refuse to vote for one, and then instruct the Government to act in precisely the opposite way from its stated intentions.

Attempts by both the Government and its opponents in the Commons to present themselves as “the people” against either an obstructive Remainer Parliamentary elite, or an undemocratic and reckless Executive, are equally ridiculous; any merit in their respective positions is undermined by the contradictions within them, before you even get round to the fact that the country is widely, aggressively, implacably – and yet fairly evenly – divided, which is why the problem arises in the first place.

The Conservative lead appears mysterious unless you consider polling that examines voters’ preferences when faced with clear binary choices, rather than clinging to the futile pretence of MPs that most people – or worse, “the people” – back their particular view.

There’s a clear preference for a deal rather than no deal, which at least chimes with the Parliamentary majority (and, if you believe them, the Government’s stated position). There seems, still, to be a preference for no deal over a second referendum, though it’s less clear whether voters would prefer Remain or Leave if forced to have one, or would back no deal rather than revoke if that were the choice. There is, however, a very clear preference for no deal rather than a government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

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This goes some way to explaining Mr Johnson’s lead, as does the fact that the Brexit Party’s vote seems, largely, to be willing to back him, while opposition to Brexit remains divided – more divided, now that Lib Dem policy is revocation without a vote, and Labour policy is whatever the last person you spoke to said, apparently.

There are many ways Mr Johnson can come unstuck. He may fail to get a deal, and fail to wriggle out of the instruction to seek an extension. He may get a deal that annoys Brexiteers, or Unionists (though the loss of his majority makes DUP support less of a consideration, and the strength of the SNP vote, while it looks inevitable, need not, in the circumstances, be seen as an independence mandate).

He may simply perform or campaign badly; someone who likes to be liked, he has clearly not liked the personal animosity currently directed at him. But even if forced into any of those imperfect positions, he would still have a chance. The only thing that looks as if it would be guaranteed to scupper him entirely would be Mr Corbyn’s resignation as Labour leader.