Scotland on Sunday Letters: New FM Yousaf doesn’t have to be 'better than' Sturgeon

Euan McColm (Opinion, 26 March) characterises unionist and anti-SNP comment since Nicola Sturgeon resigned: the First Minister was note-0a political colossus, impossible to replace; and a leader mired in failure. Both propositions can’t benote-1 true. To support his claim ofnote-2 disarray he writes: “It is hard to think of a party that has inflicted so much damage on itself in such a brief period of time as the SNP has over the past six weeks”.
Humza Yousaf arrives to attend his debut First Minister’s Questions on Thursday (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty)Humza Yousaf arrives to attend his debut First Minister’s Questions on Thursday (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty)
Humza Yousaf arrives to attend his debut First Minister’s Questions on Thursday (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty)

That must indeed be a very long time in politics to wipe from Mr McColm’s memory the rapid implosion of the Tory party after a disastrous mini-budget by a soon-to-be sacked Chancellor and a Prime Minister outlasted by a lettuce. The SNP leadership election did not crash the national economy, diminish the UK’s international standing, cost mortgage payers millions or exacerbate a cost-of-living crisis. The contest was robust, the political arguments contested and sometimes naïve, but anyone who thinks this has come as a divisive shock to party members hasn’t been paying attention. The SNP has been here before, most notably the fracture in 2021, when some members resigned, two MPs defected, a rival party emerged. Nicola Sturgeon saw off that challenge and led the SNP to another of her eight election victories.

Humza Yousaf must govern well, but build back support for self-determination to the historic 74 per cent high of the 1997 devolution referendum. Opposition parties have the task of getting a rock-solid core to change its mind.

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Scotland has had one First Minister since 2014, Westminster has had five Prime Ministers. Humza Yousaf doesn’t have to be “better than” Nicola Sturgeon, just carry conviction that Scottish autonomy is better than Westminster parties separated from Europe by blue and red walls.

Geraldine Prince, North Berwick

Poor value

Humza Yousaf has now confirmed 26 of his ministers to support him at Holyrood which, considering there are only 64 SNP MSPs, is a record number of ministers on fat responsibility payments with chauffeured luxury cars. The Scottish Government meets for just 18 hours per week but the costs keep rising out of control, raising the question as to whether this extra layer of government in Scotland is needed as it represents very poor for value for money.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Bucksburn, Aberdeen

Recycled Cabinet

This SNP /Green government must take recycling very seriously – where else would we see the recycling of single use empty vessels in a cabinet being hailed as “refreshed”?

Humza Yousaf’s cabinet reshuffle is more akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic to avert any further sinking.

It wisnae me who voted SNP.

Allan Thompson, Bearsden, Glasgow

Simple maths

Nicola Sturgeon has departed, and, naturally, talked up what she sees as her achievements – one of which is that she “won” many elections. On the face of it, a fair claim, but does this stand up to scrutiny?

Politically Scotland is divided into two camps, over the constitution, nationalists and unionists, with unionists usually the larger group. The SNP “wins” because it is the biggest nationalist party, and the unionists are split three ways. This leaves the SNP as the biggest party, hence it wins elections, yet independence has seldom been the wish of the majority.

William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian

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