Humza Yousaf – 2 May 2024


The House of Sturgeon continued burning down and the flames have now consumed her successor.  Sturgeon loyalists even fanning the fires around Humza Yousaf, deciding he was toast and manoeuvring to replace him even when he was still considering his options. Now to try and salvage something from the embers New SNP turns to John Swinney out of desperation. All dictated by a desperation to maintain the identity politics pursued by Sturgeon, but which have proven so calamitous for her Party.

Now a political fall is always going to hurt, and Humza Yousaf’s was spectacular and self-inflicted. I feel sorry for him in many ways as he’s a personable guy. But as was said at the time of his accession to office, continuity just wasn’t going to cut it. Sincerity and passion on Gaza were just never going to be enough.

Promoted more by circumstance than on merit. He was nearly pipped by Kate Forbes despite her maladroit campaign launch. Persevering with Sturgeon policies and committed to covering for her failures, he’s seen it all begin to tumble around his ears. That said his rush to end the Bute House Agreement whilst long overdue was cack-handed and blame rests squarely with him and his advisors.

Hell, hath no fury like Patrick Harvie or Lorna Slater scorned and they were having none of it. It needn’t have ended this way, even if the end before an election was always likely to happen. He could have faced down the Continuity SNP acolytes refusing to countenance a deal with Alba. Many rank and file SNP members and even elected members would have seen merit in even discussions, if not agreements on independence, protecting the rights of women and girls and focusing once again on economic priorities and competent government.

But instead, he folded to them. Not though until they’d stitched him up to preserve their own positions and policies. Why else was he contacting my colleague Ash Regan early on Monday morning to discuss matters but all whilst some around him had been briefing that he was going. Pushed as well as jumping.

So, where now for New SNP. Such is the dearth of talent within the Sturgeon loyalists that they’re forced to look to John Swinney for their salvation. He apparently is the only candidate that can defeat Kate Forbes and keep the Sturgeon legacy. That’s predicated on him being acceptable to the Greens, as Forbes is an anathema to them.

What an absurdity for any party that your leader’s picked by your opponents. The Greens ramping up for the UK election and risking SNP seats, as well as having been willing to vote with the Tories. Any pretense that they’re an independence supporting party long since cast aside and positioning to work with Labour, as once it was a dance done by the Lib Dems.

The SNP’s not my party but I’d have thought the members would prefer to pick their own leader not have one foisted on them by fair weather friends. Moreover, identity politics are not the bread and butter economic and public service issues that matter to folk.

All Sturgeon had left was her handling of Covid and that’s now shredded. The burning house she left will consume the next occupant unless they douse the flames of Sturgeonism.