As we have all been reminded during the pandemic and the race for a vaccine, Britain is replete with terrific scientists. Could one of them not be put to work rewiring the Prime Minister’s brain?

I make this mildly despairing suggestion after thinking about what happened on Boris Johnson’s trip to Scotland this week, when he made a daft, self-destructive joke that needlessly undid good work.

A Prime Minister should visit Scotland and all parts of the United Kingdom more regularly and stay there to work for a few days, so the latest trip was in theory a good idea. Travelling requires sensitivity and manners though. The grievance-hungry Nationalist narrative rests on the misleading idea that anywhere outside England is alien territory, and that a “visit” is somehow an incursion into foreign territory. In this way, Scotland’s First Minister, a welcoming ray of sunshine as ever, sent a snippy open letter to Johnson ahead of his arrival. There is no requirement for a visiting PM to always meet Nicola Sturgeon. Sensibly, he ignored it and went about his British business.