Humza Yousaf: A smattering of applause as the First Minister sets out his pitch to trade unionists

Humza Yousaf made sure to remind the STUC that he is one of them

Last year, Humza Yousaf’s first keynote speech as First Minister was to the STUC conference in Dundee.

Twelve months on, he was back at the city’s Caird Hall.

But rather than having an audience waiting with bated breath to see how he would perform in his first real public test as leader, this time round they were looking to see if he could convince them to lend their votes to the SNP at the upcoming general election.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
First Minister Humza Yousaf. Image: Andrew Milligan/Press Association.First Minister Humza Yousaf. Image: Andrew Milligan/Press Association.
First Minister Humza Yousaf. Image: Andrew Milligan/Press Association.

Although not a rapturous reception, he did get a few smatterings of applause during his near half-hour speech (somewhat over-running, given the STUC only allotted him 15 minutes for his speech).

If we were measuring success with a clapometer, the First Minister perhaps went down slightly better than Scottish Labour Anas Sarwar, who gave his speech to the conference on Monday.

Perhaps that’s because his speech, while still very much a pitch for votes at the general election, was more about reminding the trade unionists that he is one of them.

Very early on in his speech he highlighted how he took forward the STUC’s pleas to introduce progressive taxation, and thanked them for their support when his in-laws were trapped in Gaza after the October 7 attacks.

Every part of his speech was brought back to the workers.

Whether it was frontline workers experiencing hate at work while he discussed the Hate Crime Act, the working men and women in Palestine and Israel paying the price for war when discussing conflict in the Middle East, workers being left “on the scrapheap” if there was no just transition in the north-east, female workers getting back into employment when talking about childcare provision, and workers’ rights when talking about devolving employment law to Holyrood.

He even managed to weave in a famous Winston Churchill war quote to describe the impact the Conservatives in Westminster are having on working people.

Of course taking a pop at the UK government’s “appalling” Minimum Service Levels Act went down pretty well with the trade unionists in the room too.

While far from being the best response he has had to a speech in his years as a politician, it will certainly be a relief to have received some applause after a bruising Easter recess and disappointing polling for him and his party.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.