Humza Yousaf is just Nicola Sturgeon’s puppet on a string

Douglas Ross slams Humza Yousaf’s record whilst in office

Today was the day Humza Yousaf was sworn in as Scotland’s First Minister, taking his oath. But even within the first 48 hours of his elevation it is clear he is beyond being “continuity Sturgeon” his task is to follow her plan for the devolved nation.

It is noticeable that Yousaf’s first appointment was Shona Robison as his Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary.

Now, it may be that Ms Robison does not need an abacus to count Scotland’s money but her chief qualification appears to be that she was Sturgeon’s closest friend and ally in politics.

Who better to have at the top table to pass on the instructions to the new young First Minister from his former mentor and political sponsor from behind the scenes.

As he put together his first administration it was also obvious that he had inherited another Sturgeon trait – vindictiveness.

His chief rival now former Finance Minister Kate Forbes and her allies were given demeaning offers of demotion no doubt with the expectation they would have too much pride to accept them.

It is understood that Ms Forbes told Yousaf “where to go” when he suggested she get herself over to rural affairs.

Others who had been in her camp followed suit if they were even offered a job at all.

Perhaps the rundown of Mr Yousaf’s ruinous record as a minister by Ms Forbes in the leadership debates had stung him into a desire for revenge.

But again, here he was displaying another classic Sturgeon trait from her playbook.

She was never one to bring healing when division could be festered whether it was her own party or across Scotland and opponents terrorised.

Yousaf’s issue will be that he almost certainly does not carry the authority or ability to instil fear that his predecessor had.

And that natural instinct for divisiveness came out quickly within minutes of his first call with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

It was followed by a Sturgeonesque cheap shot tweet saying he “expects the democratic wishes of Scotland’s people and Parliament to be respected by the UK Government.

Luckily for Mr Sunak support for independence appears to have dropped below 2014 Scottish referendum levels and appears with Sturgeon-lite at the helm to be disappearing down a black hole.

But, of course, Yousaf was not finished there.

The reason that the establishment was so desperate for him to succeed his fellow Glasgow MSP was for him to keep them all in jobs (tick!) and keep going with Sturgeon’s toxic policies (tick!).

So, the gender recognition reform will continue to be pushed even though it led to the exodus of 30,000 people from the SNP. That reform incidently was designed by Ms Robison.

More will follow.

The coalition with the unhinged Scottish Greens – a partner that many SNP members would dearly love to see the back of – was reaffirmed even before he stepped into Holyrood as the First Minister elect.

We can only wonder at the continuation of appalling health outcomes and drugs deaths which he oversaw as Scottish Health Secretary, the continued declined in Scottish school results and the disappearing money in the ferry fiasco.

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All of Sturgeon’s disasters will be maintained and pushed harder not just because he is the continuity candidate but because – it is suspected – he is following her instructions.

Yousaf is for many even in his own party “a puppet of the old regime”.

Opposition parties will have to keep a close eye on the police investigations into the SNP.

A Forbes Scottish Government may have been much more willing to throw former party chief executive Peter Murrell and others (even his wife Ms Sturgeon) to the wolves if corruption has taken place.

There are also still ongoing questions over whether former leader Alex Salmond was stitched up over sexual abuse allegations which the previous leadership had tried to keep a lid on.

For the Sturgeon cabal, Yousaf is the man for continuing grievance fuelled vision of Scotland attempting to transform it into a beacon of so-called progressive politics whether Scots want it or not.

There were questions why she left. Was she tired? Was she worried abut the police investigation? Had she burnt all her credibility?

There was perhaps a need for a new face to front the project.

But a number of SNP figures are not optimistic that it will work.

One MP said: “We are facing a complete wipe out. Humza hasn’t got it.”

Whether Sturgeon is pulling his strings or not it appears that with Yousaf the show may be in its final act on the Scottish political stage for the SNP.

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