Are we heading for an early General Election? The odds rose dramatically this weekend.

Not just because Liz Truss ruthlessly dumped the destabilising high earners’ tax cut on Kwasi Kwarteng’s shoulders, in a public burst of pass the poisonous parcel.

Not just because the Conservatives’ sacred markets gave Ms Truss a massive and public vote of no confidence when the IMF issued an unprecedented warning and the Bank of England stepped in to save pensions.

Not just because the PM said she won’t commit to raising benefits in line with inflation on TV on Sunday but will keep the triple lock on pensions – presaging the biggest effective welfare cut in history. Many pensioners vote Tory, most claimants don’t. Perfectly clear, perfectly callous.

Not just because opinion polls show 55% of voters disapprove of Liz Truss while just 18% back her, while the majority think Labour not the Tories is the party of sound economic management.

Not even because Kwasi Kwarteng raced off for a champagne swallie with hedge fund managers to celebrate the millions they’d just made betting against the pound, hours after his mad, libertarian mini-budget caused sterling to tank. The whiff of insider trading hangs over the Chancellor and this, along with being hung out to dry by The Boss, suggests Mr Kwarteng is already toast. And that clearly poses Liz Truss with an enormous problem.

If she gets rid of her first Chancellor within weeks, she’ll either have to find another believer who can feign support for her rapidly crumbling Trussonomics, or someone prepared to reverse the whole tax-cutting programme. Someone who can reassure the markets. Someone a bit like Rishi Sunak – though obviously not him – at which point the u-turning Ms Truss will instantly become a lame duck Prime Minister. Heads she loses – tails she loses.

And there’s nothing much Mr Kwarteng’s speech at conference today – or the PM’s speech on Wednesday can do to shift this noxious reality.

Of course, as we all know, unpopular Tory leaders seem equipped with hides like rhinoceroses and can easily sit out ferocious political storms – especially when craven MPs can be coaxed or cajoled to stay in line.

But Michael Gove’s performance on the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg show yesterday blew even that possibility away.

The former cabinet minister for everything effectively said he won’t vote for the Finance Bill, the parliamentary consent needed to allow the Truss tax and spending proposals to swing into action. Mr Gove is heading up a small but growing band of Tory rebels apparently ready to vote with the opposition to bring the Chancellor down (if Mr Kwarteng is actually still in place by then).

And whilst Mr Gove is hardly a political weathervane in Scotland, where the Tories were already set for wipeout while he was in government and PM Truss was just a bad dream – he is one of the Big Beasts normally expected to go on TV and unequivocally back new Tory leaders, or diplomatically haud their collective wheesht.

Mr Gove has opted to do neither and others will follow. After all, Ms Truss has the narrowest base of parliamentary support of any Tory leader – most MPs backed Rishi Sunak – and she hasn’t spent any time building support before plunging them into a radical and unfunded tax-cutting budget that wasn’t part of the platform they stood on in 2019. Will the majority go out and bat for it now? Will they heck.

Yesterday, just as Michael Gove was refusing to say he’d vote for the Finance Bill on the BBC, Tory chairman Jake Berry was on ITV saying any Tory MPs who vote against the budget will lose the party whip.

Minutes later, former Tory cabinet minister Julian Smith signalled his own defiant response: "The first job of an MP is to act in the interest of constituents and the national interest. We cannot clap for carers one month and cut tax for millionaires months later."

And on BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show, loyalist Scots Tory MP Andrew Bowie agreed with Michael Gove that unfunded borrowing was “not Conservative”.

Yet the PM has restated her intention not to back down.

Ms Truss did admit she should have “laid the ground better” by setting out the full context of her dramatic tax and policy changes. But it’s the content not the comms strategy that’s alarming Tory MPs and that ground isn’t likely to get laid any better till the end of November, since the PM won’t release this week’s OBR report as soon as she gets it.

Could that be the first issue to trigger a Tory revolt? It may well be. According to The Times, 20 letters of no confidence have already been submitted to the 1922 committee. Other papers report ex-ministers are planning a coup to reinstall Boris Johnson or Rishi Sunak via another mass resignation.

Really? With Labour in a 23-point lead and an SNP landslide predicted for Scotland? With strike action everywhere and activists on the streets across Britain this weekend including Enough is Enough demos in six cities including Glasgow; an All under one Banner march for independence in Edinburgh, a rally supporting Irish unification in Dublin featuring actor James Nesbitt, and Extinction Rebellion protestors closing bridges across London.

Will the country in this roused and defiant state meekly accept another unelected (and recently rejected) Tory at the helm or will it demand a general election?

Commentators believed activism collapsed in the face of Covid and the cost-of-living crisis. They predicted public sympathy would desert strikers. Au contraire.

So, drafting in Mr Johnson or Mr Sunak to replace Ms Truss might seem like a wizard wheeze to top Tories, but it would be completely unacceptable for the vast majority of voters.

Liz Truss is protected from a leadership challenge by 1922 Committee rules. But they can change. And mass resignations evidently do work. But what’s more likely then – another change of Tory leader or an early General Election?

Every opposition plan for a comfortable run towards 2024 should be ditched – immediately.

Read more by Lesley Riddoch:

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Co-operatives could be the way forward for Scotland

Someone remind Liz Truss that the future is renewable