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“Humza Useless” has made the Union safer

Yousaf making his victory speech at Murrayfield this week. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

I first saw Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s new first minister, on Question Time shortly before the Brexit vote, says Iain Martin in The Times. The “superficial plausibility” of the party’s rising star was gripping: his “made-for-television smoothness” and “cold-filtered anger” with opponents he clearly assumed were idiots. But his “cocksure conviction” has since been tested in a series of ministerial jobs, and in post after post he has “proved himself a lightweight”. In two years as transport minister, he oversaw an “epic scandal of squandered money” that included screwing up vital ferry services to the Scottish islands and nationalising a bankrupt shipyard. When Nicola Sturgeon visited in 2017, “pretend windows” were painted on a ship to make it look as though it was close to completion. It still isn’t built.

Next he was handed the justice portfolio, where he introduced “draconian” hate crime legislation condemned by churches, secularists, the police, lawyers, and pretty much everyone else as an “attack on free speech”. Then came the health ministry, where he became widely known as “Humza Useless” because of his dismal handling of the pandemic. And with his “unerring touch”, Yousaf managed within hours of becoming first minister to lose the much-more-promising Kate Forbes from the cabinet by offering her a demotion. By “inflicting Yousaf on Scotland” the SNP has only made the Union safer. But anyone who cares about the country “should worry what Yousaf will do to the place on his way to being fully found out”.