This is one of two posts on TCW today about the election of Humza Yousaf to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as leader of the Scottish National Party.
IF EVER there was a political party out of touch with those whom is purports to represent, it is the SNP. A party with severely declining membership, 30,000 down since 2021, and which is presiding over twin economic and health disasters, has surely lubricated the slippery slope to electoral marginalisation in its election of Humza Yousaf as its new leader. Tom Goodfellow asked in these pages if Kate Forbes, one of Yousaf’s co-runners for the leadership, could survive the ‘snakepit’ that is the SNP as leader. Now we know that she will not have to.
Sturgeon, more of a cultural Marxist than a Scottish Nationalist, promoted policies that became very unpopular among the electorate. Undoubtedly, the Scottish chattering classes were happy with gender self-identification and the Hate Crimes Bill. But ordinary working Scots, some of whom are present or former SNP members and many more of whom have voted SNP, are concerned with more prosaic matters.
The unemployed need jobs and those living in the Isles need ferries. But while official figures suggest falling unemployment in Scotland, a recent report suggests that it could be four times higher than reported. Scotland’s ferry fleet has long been rusting due to lack of infrastructure funding. A few years ago, windows were even painted on one ferry under construction to give the impression it was nearer completion than it was.
Yousaf was a disaster as health secretary and fully supports Sturgeon’s transgender self-identification policies. In electing him, the SNP have made sure that these policies will continue to be promoted even though they know that a majority of the Scottish people have long opposed them. The whole (declining) SNP membership were eligible to vote in the leadership election and they chose Yousaf in the knowledge that most Scots still do not favour independence.
Elsewhere, I suggested that if Yousaf took the reins of the SNP, Scotland could be heading towards a ‘MacCaliphate’. Yousaf sidestepped the vote on gay marriage in the Scottish Parliament, citing other engagements but under strong suspicion that he was advised to do this by members of his own community; the ‘Muslim community’. Presumably this would have been a step too far for his co-religionists in Scotland.
Nevertheless, he has been forthright in his support for gender self-identification. This probably horrifies many Scottish Muslims, but it does not horrify all Muslims. Witness the situation in Iran where an acceptable alternative to being homosexual, and therefore persecuted, is to undergo reassignment surgery and ‘come out’ under your new sex.
There is no evidence that Yousaf supports the regime in Iran or approves of their reasons for tolerating transgender people, but he has been known to consort with Islamic extremists. His connections include inviting a Hamas leader to Scotland to meet MSPs and diverting funds to a charity linked to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. His own cousin has called for a caliphate to be established and is also an erstwhile SNP candidate. Yousaf has declared that, in the event of an SNP victory, he would seek to have King Charles removed as head of state of Scotland.
It is worth reminding ourselves that the great experiment of devolution north of the border whereby outlandish and even outrageous policies can be pursued largely takes place at the expense of taxpayers in England. The annual gravy train, to which a few carriages are added annually, of the Barnett Formula exceeds Scottish revenue from the three purported pillars of its economy: oil, whisky and tourism.
Scotland is utterly dependent on being in the United Kingdom for its military defence, and independence would see it cast adrift internationally since membership of the European Union and the United Nations would not be automatic. The European Union does not want another economic basket-case to support, and the United Nations does not want to have to promise to intervene in a country which is unwilling and unable to defend itself.
As a unionist Scot I should celebrate the election of Humza Yousaf if it means that the SNP become unelectable. However, with the next Scottish Parliament elections not due until 2026, the SNP have a few more years to inflict damage and division on the Scottish people.