I’m writing this at 4pm on Sunday and it will be published at 5am on Monday so who knows what could happen in that time. Perhaps we’ll discover that the PM held a cocktail party in a Covid test centre or led a conga though an ICU ward. Or perhaps we’ll discover that he’s found his sense of decency and resigned. I do not have all the answers. Only the mighty Sue Gray has all the answers.

What we do know is that a large chunk of the Conservative leadership is appalled by Boris Johnson but only a few of them are willing to take action. The sight and sound of Tory apologists attempting to explain away their leader was not only pathetic – if there’s a puppy in the room and poo on the carpet we do not need an inquiry – it’s also put Ms Gray in a ridiculous situation. Our constitution does not allow for a civil servant to effectively sack a PM so the poor woman is going to be forced to fudge it.

I’m also afraid that the few signs of hope may not be signs of hope at all. The Scottish leader Douglas Ross was one of the first to say Johnson must go, but not only did this deepen the division and lead to the sight of a hyphenated English Tory calling Mr Ross “lightweight” and the Scottish Secretary “a formidable figure in Scottish politics”, it was also a forced retreat for Mr Ross rather than a significant step forward. Do not read too much into it. We have been here before.

In a way, you can see what Mr Ross is trying to do. He knows the local elections are coming up this year and that his party will be defending the high point they achieved in 2017 when there was a swing of 12% in Scotland and they took more than 150 extra seats. The only problem is that the elections are less than five months away and it’s unlikely – although perhaps not impossible – that the Tories will be able to get shot of Johnson and recover in so short a time.

So what Mr Ross is doing is what Scottish Tories in the modern era have always tried to do which is find a point – possibly a mythical point – which is both close enough to and sufficiently far away from the UK leadership. Malcolm Rifkind did it, for instance, when he was Scottish Secretary under Margaret Thatcher; in fact, she complained about it in her memoirs. Rifkind, she said, “fell back on the old counter-productive tactic of proving his Scottish virility by posturing as Scotland’s defender against Thatcherism”.

In his own way, Douglas Ross is doing the same thing now: he is trying to prove his Scottish virility by posturing as Scotland’s defender against Boris Johnson but he is also trying to find that point that is both close to and far away from the UK leadership because he has to. Johnson has always been unpopular in Scotland and Mr Ross is worried that the unpopularity is going to hit the Tories’ chances here. Rightly so. It will.

But, as I say, let’s not read too much into this because, even right the way through apparent lows such as Thatcherism and apparent highs such as the “surges” under Ruth Davidson, Tory support in Scotland has pretty much never got higher than 25%, and in the wake of all the parties at Number Ten, it has now fallen back to about 17% in Scotland and around 31% in England – a drop of some seven per cent up here and around 11 per cent south of the border. In some ways, it’s remarkable that it hasn’t fallen further in Scotland.

The reason may be that the Scottish Tories and Mr Ross are acting out the same old drama they’ve been starring in since at least the 1980s. There is a hard core of support in Scotland for the Tories – probably about 17% which you could call the basement – but there’s also apparently a small group of Scots that’s willing to vote Tory sometimes which takes it up to a ceiling of 25%. It’s hard to imagine anything – not Johnson’s resignation, not a separate Scottish party, not even a competent and charismatic Tory PM – that would change those figures in any profound way in the next 20 years. All Mr Ross can do is try to get closer to the ceiling and further from the basement.

In a sense, the reality of the situation, and the fact that the Tories’ performance in Scotland is broadly unchanged in 40 years, limits the extent of the fall they are likely to suffer here because of Johnson and as it happens the trends we’re seeing elsewhere in the UK are more significant. We now have Conservative constituency parties in England calling on the PM to resign, something which never happened even during the Tory nadirs of the past. In fact, the constituency parties are usually the most loyal and the last to fold and it’s a profoundly bad sign for Johnson that they are showing the strain.

Taken together – rebellious Scots but more importantly rebellious English – all of it is terminal for Johnson and the fall in support in Scotland and the rebellion of his Scottish lieutenant Douglas Ross is actually the least of his worries. Some say the Scottish Tories in particular should be concerned about the scandals at Number 10 but in a country that already has low expectations of the Tories, their vote is unlikely to fall much lower. I’ve threatened to eat my hat before in this column, but this time I mean it. If the Tory vote falls below 17% in Scotland at the local elections, I will have my hat for lunch.

In the meantime, Mr Ross can only do what he has to do. He may be acting out of anger, or principle, he may simply be strategizing, or he may be doing a mixture of all of those, but his hope is he can limit the damage at the May elections and stay above the basement. He probably will.

Boris Johnson – the man Mr Ross has called on to resign – on the other hand is in a much more perilous situation. It’s always been the case that lots of Scots hate Johnson, but lots of English loved him and it is the English who are starting to change their minds in big numbers. Scotland hasn’t been the frontline in general elections for quite some time now – the frontline is England and Boris Johnson is losing it.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.