I DO not claim to be an expert on the forthcoming elections to be held in the Republic of Congo in July nor those that will take place in Nigeria later this week. But I suspect they are of profound importance to the ethnic, tribal and anti-colonial issues that define and divide those countries.

Nor would I dare dismiss the ­forthcoming elections that are scheduled for Papua New Guinea. In 2019, a non-binding ­independence referendum was held with 98.31% of the autonomous region of ­Bougainville voting for independence rather than remaining within Papua New ­Guinea. As a result, Bougainville will ­officially become independent between 2025 and 2027.

I have to assume that all the 300 ­million people eligible to go to the polls in the ­coming months have not been listening to the Tory Party narrative that “now is not the time”.

Or possibly they have been confused by Douglas Ross’s shifting take on Boris ­Johnson, Tory policy and the rights of ­nations to self-determination.

The latest flawed story in the ­Conservative Party’s playbook is that democracy must cease whilst the war in Ukraine rages. That’s what we have been told about the next Scottish ­independence referendum, now promised for late 2023.

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If Douglas Ross is quick he could even risk a second-class stamp and post a ­reminder at Bishopmill Post Office in ­Moray and it will get to Fiji in time to put a stop to their elections in November too.

And what of President Macron? Should he not hand back the French ­Presidency he won recently, and encourage his ­electorate to abandon the legislative ­elections in France next week, at least ­until the grain blockade in Ukraine is over.

An estimated 70 or more democratic elections are scheduled for this year and countless referendums have been ­earmarked to take place on a limitless number of subjects.

In February alone, Switzerland, the world champions of referendums have said yes to a ban on animal and ­human experimentation, a vote in favour of ­protecting children from tobacco ­advertising, agreed amendments to stamp duty and voted to strengthen support for ­independent media.

None of these rituals of democracy or the processes that underpin them have been abandoned due to bombing in the Donbas region. It is only the ­Conservative and Unionist Party that sticks to the script.

The truth behind the tired old Tory ­mantra of “now is not the time”, a crass phrase originated by David Cameron, then picked up Theresa May to ­suffocate Scottish democracy even as she ­stumbled out of Number 10, threatened by the sharpened knives of Tory party ­skulduggery.

It is to the UK’s errant shame that the pitiful Thresa May was replaced by an even worse character, the bungling sack of clichés that currently occupies the role of Prime Minister.

I raise the Tory Party’s opposition to a Scottish independence ­referendum to ­illustrate a point that has come to ­screeching prominence of late, ­namely that there is no slogan or bogus ­pronouncement too shallow for the UK Government to give voice to.

This is a government of fake narratives and empty one-liners, which on closer analysis cannot only be disproven but can be ripped up like rice paper, which is mostly manufactured in Vietnam, and largely unaffected by the war in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, President Biden claimed that the previous day’s primary elections reflected a desire from the American public to take a harder stance on crime and gun violence and called on states and local communities to spend funds allocated from the Covid-19 relief bill to bolster police departments.

Has anyone told this old buffer that the Tories are against tinkering with ­constitutions and sceptical of any ­democratic testing of public opinion, ­unless of course it’s a snap UK election, to save their own desperately beleaguered skins?

I fully accept that politics is a game of slogans, pithy policy statements and ­easily memorised clichés. With its 30 ­second soundbites, television has exacerbated the trend and social media has turned catchphrases into a necessary evil.

But conceding those realities does not explain away why internal Tory culture fetishises false narratives and reduces complexity to barren simplicities.

The HS2 rail project launched as a new generation in super-duper rail travel which would bring “Britain Together” will just about limp into Coventry.

The 48 new hospitals promised to ­England and Wales to “become jewels of the NHS” has been reduced to a few new hospital wings, some new kit and the odd car-park extension.

There is worse to come. In a damning forecast of the UK economy published in the Financial Times, a leading economist savaged the Tory narrative that the UK has come out of the Covid pandemic as a world leader.

Speaking about the weaknesses of the UK economy compared with other rich countries, Laurence Boone, chief economist of the OECD, said the UK was simultaneously grappling with high inflation, rising interest rates and increasing taxes.

The FT forecasts that economic growth in the UK will grind to a halt next year with only Russia, hobbled by western sanctions, performing worse among the G20 leading economies. It shatters the false narrative that “only the Tories can manage the economy” as it drives ­inevitably into collapse.

Among the top 10 of false narratives now parroted daily by Cabinet ­members and repeated on the airwaves are: ­Johnson’s increasingly desperate claim that “he got all the big calls right” especially during Covid and the war in Ukraine.

It was refreshing to see the BBC’s ­peerless Victoria Derbyshire insist on a corrective to this when Dominic Raab trotted it out during a live interview from College Green last week.

In an excruciating exchange Derbyshire pointed out that many of the big decisions under Johnson’s leadership have been at best deeply flawed, listing just some of the wrong calls the Government have made. There was the bungled ­procurement of PPE Equipment, the release of Covid ­patients back into care-homes and a ­typically Tory strategy of opening up a VIP lines to their closest allies, to gain preferential access to procurement and post-Covid funding.

Raab retaliated not with substance nor even with an acknowledgement that not all had been well, but with yet another false narrative, that Derbyshire and the BBC is “partisan” and “left wing”. Not the one I watch.

The National: BBC

The gloomy economic forecasts ­underscore the difficulties Johnson is ­likely to face in the months ahead as he tries to shore up support within his ­Conservative Party after surviving a no-confidence vote last Monday. The fatuous narratives that underpin Johnson’s smug and busking premiership will come under even greater strain in the weeks and months to come, as they are repeated day after day, undermined by his own party enemies, and hopefully held to account by fearless journalism.

Another narrative that is coming under daily strain is that the Conservatives are “the party of the Union”. Now that a vast majority of sitting Scottish MPs do not support his leadership, Johnson can only rely on two allies, David Duguid MP for Banff and Buchan and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, a man whose sartorial demeanour casts him as the landowner of a peasant economy.

I am not a great lover of the vox pop, the BBC’s preferred device for showing a range of public opinion. But there was one all time classic on telly this week, up there with the old wifie that wanted to put a stake through Thatcher’s heart.

It was a younger woman in ­Dumfries who was asked by the reporter he thoughts on Johnson. He got a curt “he should go”. When informed that her ­local MP Jack supported the Prime Minister, she looked back to camera and said enthusiastically: “Aye, and he can do one too”.

We need this honest discourse to cut through the shallow soundbites and false narratives that are paraded daily on our screens. And for the record “he should do one” too. Although I concede that is a glib one liner.