Has he stopped yet? Has he stopped shuffling the papers back and forth? Has he stopped doing vroom vroom noises and talking about a cartoon pig? And how long did that awkward silence last? Was it a few seconds? Or a few hours? Or a few days? Can I look now? Is it over?

Assuming it is, we should probably talk about what went wrong. The problem – and we all know it – is that Boris Johnson doesn’t prepare properly. He leaves things to the last minute. He also assumes his intelligence and charm will get him through and sometimes it does and sometimes – as in the case of the CBI – it doesn’t, leaving the rest of us to cringe until Christmas.

It was the same when he was a journalist. Colleagues who worked with him at the Telegraph tell me he was a nightmare. Often they’d call him to ask him where his copy was and he wouldn’t have started writing – sometimes he didn’t even know what he was going to write about but he always delivered it in the end super-quick. You could say that’s impressive or you could say it’s arrogant. You could say it’s both.

The other problem with Johnson is the nature of the job he’s doing. Being Prime Minister begins on a high, you wade through criticism and crisis, then it ends in disaster. It may attract people who want to be king of the world, it may even attract people who want to make the world better, but the scale of it, the pressure, the attention, the potential for disaster – all of it means that it is effectively a job that destroys the human who does it.

In many ways, the same applies to the First Minister. Nicola Sturgeon is more capable than Johnson, but the super-human scale of the job is similar in some ways – education, health, and other crises. As I’ve said before, she is also showing signs of hubris syndrome including excessive self-confidence and a contempt for people who disagree with her. If the job doesn’t destroy you, it will certainly change you.

But perhaps there is an answer to the problem of Johnson and Sturgeon and the almost impossible jobs they’re trying to do. Perhaps there is a way to stop a succession of people leading the country badly, sometimes because the job is too big, sometimes because they are not very good, and sometimes because of both. There could be another way.

What I mean is shared leadership. It is not uncommon now for parties to be led by two people - the Scottish Greens have done it, but there are also examples in Portugal, Germany and Canada. The theory – and I like it– is that leadership focused on one person is unhealthy for us or them and that a better model is leadership by more than one person, particularly if it’s gender balanced. Ensuring we are led by a man and a woman could help mitigate their flaws and maximise their abilities.

There’s also no reason why the jobs of PM and FM could not be done in a similar way. The Labour MP Lisa Nandy has suggested a future Labour premiership could be job shared. Ireland also recently agreed a rotating premiership with Fianna Fail’s Micheál Martin as prime minister and Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar as deputy and then the other way around and so far it seems to be working.

I’m not suggesting that shared leadership is problem-free or a panacea, although even the arrangement between “the two Davids” – Steel and Owen – worked better than people suppose. Look at David Torrance’s biography of David Steel and you’ll see that there were issues, including periods when the men weren’t speaking, but the two of them got along much better than the media, or Spitting Image, thought they did.

And the bottom line, surely, is that there must be something better than the current model. We expect too much of our leaders, even the ones who aren’t very good. It’s a horrendous job with failure built in and if the PM or FM isn’t a little bit mad at the start there’s a good chance they will be by the end. So let’s make it easier for them. And better. Let’s have not one Prime Minister but two. For their sakes. And especially for ours.

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