Humza puts the brakes on the SNP clown car - Sue Webber

There were more emergency stops from the SNP this week than a series of Top Gear and judging by our new First Minister Humza Yousaf’s performance on Tuesday he’s going to find the coming months very long indeed.
Sue Webber MSP - ConservativeSue Webber MSP - Conservative
Sue Webber MSP - Conservative

Not that many voters will have noticed what he had to say because all eyes are on the shattered myth of Nicola Sturgeon’s moral superiority complex, not just because of the arrest and release without charge of first her husband and SNP chief executive Peter Murrell and then the treasurer Colin Beattie, but because of the leaked video which exposed the vicious and calculating way she shut down her own people’s legitimate concerns about the SNPs finances.

Maybe calling a halt to so many of Ms Sturgeon’s pet projects, like alcohol advertising prohibition and the dangerous National Care Service plan, was designed to draw attention away from the crisis engulfing his party, and if so it was another addition to his already long list of failures.

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Listening to his increasingly angry reaction to MSP’s questions after his statement, it’s already obvious he is not blessed with a long fuse or a thick skin, and his eyes bulged with rage when my colleague Craig Hoy pointed out that Greens co-leader and “circularity” minster Lorna Slater had said in February that “no one with any credibility would delay” the deposit return scheme, which Mr Yousaf had just, er, delayed.

Ms Slater’s full comment back then was it “would be absolutely a kick in the teeth to industry to delay this scheme,” so would a First Minster with any credibility leave responsibility for reviewing the plan with the same minister he had just thrown under a bus?

The circularity minister must be going round in circles because in an off-the-cuff reply on Tuesday, Mr Yousaf also threw the whole Highly Protected Marine Areas plan ─ another Green “red line” ─ up in the air by promising “we will not impose these policies on communities that do not want them”, but then added “we will work with our coastal and fishing communities to see whether we can find a way forward together.” If they can’t, will that definitely mean the restrictions won’t be introduced? If so, he needs to spell it out, but then what will that do to his credibility with the Greens?

Meanwhile police inquiries continue and would a First Minister with any credibility think suspending MSPs under investigation is not appropriate because they are “innocent until proven guilty”, as if suspension implies guilt. No wonder Michelle Thomson MSP, who claims Ms Sturgeon forced her out the party while facing a police probe into her company’s property deals when she was an MP, wants clarity.

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And when asked if Mr Yousaf could “guarantee that the party isn’t operating in a criminal way”, would a First Minster with any credibility reply, “Certainly don't believe it is at all,” and leave room for the possibility that it is?

Mr Yousaf might think he’s some sort of superhero coming to the rescue of his stricken party, but now we know he’s only in charge because of what now looks like his predecessor’s premonition that her regime was about to fall like Saddam Hussein’s statue. He’s only the Nationalists’ Mr Incredible in the original sense of the word.

Sue Webber is a Scottish Conservative Lothian MSP

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