THE vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson this week was never going to be won or lost on matters of principle.

It was always going to be about Tory self-interest.

In the end those Conservative MPs who wanted to protect their Government pay cheques just edged out those desperate to hang on to their seats in marginal constituencies.

Still, the outcome could hardly have been more damning. With 148 of his own MPs voting to remove him, Johnson has lost any authority, even within his own party. He must surely go, and soon.

My six-year-old knows this. He understands that actions have consequences. He knows that those in Downing Street, including the PM, partied on, while we said goodbye to his granddad.

He knows that for many thousands of others who went through similar pain, that is unforgivable.

It beggars belief that the Prime Minister and those on his Government payroll don’t.

This is a Prime Minister whose response to having clearly broken his own ministerial code is to rewrite it. A Prime Minister who makes up the rules to suit himself.

When he also leads a Government determined to criminalise dissent, remove people’s human rights, disenfranchise the most vulnerable, limit democratic scrutiny, disregard international law, and turn every possible issue into a culture war, it is with no exaggeration that SNP Mhairi Black says we have to talk about the f word - about how fascism is sowed in the actions of governments that make decisions based on self-preservation and cronyism, that seek the concentration of power and removal of scrutiny, and in the systematic othering of anyone who challenges their chosen narrative.

Nothing more clearly encapsulates this than the Nationality and Borders Bill and the way this Government plans to treat people seeking refuge from war, persecution and hate.

This coming Tuesday will see the first flight deporting asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda - a country with an awful human rights record.

This has been condemned by the United Nations as a flagrant attempt to evade international obligations which have existed since after the Second World War. Even by the terrible standards of the Home Office, this is a disgraceful new low.

Johnson must go but Scotland needs to not be saddled to a political class in Westminster that offers no viable alternative.

It may be 10 years since Theresa May said she wanted to create a hostile environment, but its seeds were sown from 1997 onwards under Labour home secretaries, when phrases like ‘bogus asylum seekers’ and ‘asylum cheats’ entered the lexicon via the mouths of Tony Blair and his ministers, and the current shadow cabinet are not offering anything like the changed course that is needed.

Scotland can choose a different path through independence - and it is becoming ever more pressing that we have that choice. A choice to replace hostility with care, compassion and solidarity; to be Scotland of Kenmure Street, not Downing Street. A choice I hope we will ultimately make.