​Humza’s year of failure as Scotland’s leader - Ian Murray

​Congratulations to Humza Yousaf, who has lasted a year as First Minister. I suspect nobody will be quite as surprised by this anniversary as the SNP leader himself, who has careered from one crisis to another throughout the past 12 months.
Scottish Green leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie on the march with Humza YousafScottish Green leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie on the march with Humza Yousaf
Scottish Green leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie on the march with Humza Yousaf

Not all his own making, of course – few could have predicted that the numerous scandals which have engulfed the Tories have also engulfed the nationalists. But as we assess Yousaf’s year in power, it’s not the perilous state of the SNP that I’m interested in, it’s the state of our nation.

It is beyond doubt that the people of Scotland have been let down by a weak leader and a chaotic and divided government. And that has very real consequences.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

His SNP and Green government has failed to make progress on the climate emergency, leaving the Climate Change Committee to conclude that Scotland’s net zero targets are “no longer credible”. What a legacy for Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, who chose to enter government because they care more about constitutional division than climate disaster.

Yousaf has overseen a growing NHS crisis with almost 825,000 Scots on waiting lists for tests and treatment – that’s up 9.5 per cent compared to a year ago and means nearly one-in-six Scots are now waiting.

The SNP has government has failed to reduce drug deaths, given the green light to Police Scotland to stop investigating some crimes in our communities, and sided with energy giants rather than struggling households by refusing to back a North Sea windfall tax (which even the Tories now support) at the same time as hiking income taxes.

And perhaps the two failures which are most distressing are in relation to poverty and homelessness.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The latest statistics show little recent change in poverty levels for children and pensioners, while poverty for working-age adults is slightly higher than in recent years.

There is no mission more important than tackling child poverty, and the SNP has betrayed a generation of children by utterly failing to do so.

And when councils are declaring housing emergencies, with so many of our fellow citizens homeless, what does the SNP choose to do? Decimate the country’s housing budget.

What an utter failure of leadership.

Yousaf has made our country’s public services weaker, and Scotland now desperately needs change.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Our country is brimming with talent and potential that is being squandered by an inward-looking nationalist party.

Only this week the government’s priority was to produce yet another paper on its obsession with independence – focusing on education, which is already devolved.

If Yousaf wants to know why Scotland has fallen behind England and other nations in the international education tables, the answer is simple: the SNP.

The country knows he has failed, and even senior members of his own party now admit it too.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This year’s general election is an opportunity to set Scotland on a path to change, starting with a UK Labour government that will deliver for the people of Scotland – not seek to pick fights or divide us.

And come 2026, should Yousaf still be in post, there will be a clear choice for the public between a failed First Minister who has let down the people of Scotland or a brighter future with Anas Sarwar who will deliver the change our country needs.

Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.