IT seems the perfect end to Boris Johnson’s time in Downing Street; that a Prime Minister who began this parliamentary term hiding from journalists in a fridge would ultimately be undone by hiding a fridge from journalists. There’s a beautiful irony in the revelation that Boris Johnson wasn’t the only thing at Downing Street that has spent most of the pandemic filled with cheap booze.

But is it really the end? The Conservatives are rapidly spiralling in the polls, the fragile relationship between Boris Johnson and his Scottish contingency is irreparably fractured and word on the street is that Johnson must go. For any other Prime Minister, the bells would be tolling and nobody would be asking for whom. And yet, to believe this is the end for Johnson would be to fundamentally misunderstand the very character of our floppy autocrat. Like many of the political class, Johnson has been raised under one shining and clear principle, silver spoon-fed to him from his earliest days on this planet: that he was born to rule.

Johnson’s god-given, dad-driven right to authority has bestowed upon him an utter contempt for the UK public – and it shows. In his smirking response to journalists asking about attendance at Wine Time Fridays, boozy leaving dos and garden parties, we can infer everything we need to know about the Prime Minister’s relationship to accountability – much like his relationship to the rules on household mixing being laid down for England, it was likely never even a fleeting thought that it would be something he too should be beholden.

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And while it’s easy enough in Scotland to remain removed from the political state of England, shielded as we sometimes are by Holyrood from the worst excesses of Westminster, let’s not overlook that this reckoning of the Tory party is playing out against a backdrop of protests and opposition to the authoritarian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill currently in the final stages of passing through the UK Parliament.

This bill will curtail freedom of speech and expression in England, handing police the powers to disproportionately strangle political movements and environmental protesters that get in the way of the Tories’ agenda. Accountability is not a word that the contemporary Conservative Party is interested in hearing; not when it comes to climate change, and certainly not when it comes to personal behaviour.

Boris Johnson walked into Downing Street with so much baggage on day one that another booze-filled suitcase thrown on top isn’t likely to make much difference in that regard.

No, the only means by which Boris Johnson will be handing back the keys to Number 10 is if his party gather the nerve to challenge him – and that’s looking increasingly unlikely. Party faithfuls are already mewling their prepared statements in defence of Johnson, spinning the Prime Minister facing justified criticism as a culture war issue being inflamed by jealous Remain voters.

It’s a strategy that I doubt will land with the populace. Much like early justifications that Johnson’s domicile lies outwith the boundaries of the law when it comes to coronavirus restrictions – a misguided argument that literally boiled down to “one rule for them, one rule for us” – there is no spinning this issue to the public.

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Johnson, however, doesn’t currently need the public. The next General Election is more than two years away, and a week is a very long time in politics. Johnson need only keep his party in line to survive, and the Tories are very good at just following orders.

A handy list of scapegoats is already being prepared; patsies ready to be thrown under the Boris battle bus to show false contrition for the repeated mistakes of Johnson’s administration.

What we will see in the next week or so will be fascinating; a paradoxical political campaign that will point to Boris Johnson’s apology in the Commons as a marker of his personal remorse, while simultaneously relinquishing all blame and foisting the consequences onto a group of civil servants, advisers and political staff in Downing Street. And if that wasn’t enough, you can expect to start hearing a lot more about how Boris Johnson is, in fact, the only man who can lead the change at Downing Street to get to the bottom of these seemingly institutional issues. It’s offensively tone-deaf posturing from a Prime Minister who may just be physically incapable of taking real responsibility for his own behaviour and failure to challenge a political party party culture that bloomed under his leadership.

Meanwhile, the police continue to disregard any wrongdoing on the Prime Minister’s part, faithfully diverting their eyes from a growing list of photographs, eyewitness testimony and leaks that would otherwise have spurred them to action. This entire affair has revealed much of the relationship between the institutions of government and policing. Perhaps even more worrying is the fact that the very force refusing to hold the Prime Minister to account will likely soon have the power to effectively end any protest that attempts to.

Between an unwilling police force, a disenfranchised public and a compliant Conservative party, who can pull Johnson from the throne? Unfortunately, time may be all that the Prime Minister needs to shamefully ride out this storm, to the detriment of us all.