Wednesday 29 March 2023

No room in Humza's inn


So, a certain character from King Lear gets exiled for telling the truth. There is no room at the inn for Kate Forbes or else she was offered such a rotten room she chose the stable instead.  

There are some oddities about the election of Humza Yousaf to First Minister and leader of the SNP. The surprise is not that he did so well, but that he did so badly. The whole SNP establishment backed him. It was obvious that Sturgeon wanted him to win. And so it came to pass that he did win. But by 52% to 48%. That’s so near to the margin of error that he might have not won. A couple of thousand votes here or there and Sturgeon might not have got her successor. Can even the SNP control the results of elections to that extent?

What would have happened if Kate Forbes had been a little bit more political about questions on gay marriage, abortion and premarital sex. She might have refused to answer on the grounds that Yousaf wasn’t questioned on his private religious views. I will tell you whether I think gay sex is sinful when you first find out what Humza thinks. Would this have got Forbes over the line?

But actually, I think Forbes won more votes than she lost by being the most honest and truthful politician in living memory. It was this that was the dividing line between her and Yousaf.

There’s also the issue of the SNP members that didn’t bark. How many couldn’t be bothered to vote for a contest that had put the SNP on the TV more than at any time since the pandemic? Was that 20,000 people who despite paying their subscription had no opinion whatsoever about their next leader. Or were these like the dead foreign legion soldiers in Beau Geste who were put between the battlements of the fort to deceive the enemy that it was still guarded? Serving France even if they were no longer in the land of the living. Controlled by whoever was still fighting to defend the fort and its secrets.

There is also this difference between Forbes and Yousaf. Whatever we may think of her views on Scottish independence, there is little doubt that Forbes is a nice, kind decent person. If I were her neighbour, I would count myself fortunate. I imagine it would be possible to discuss politics without rancour. This is the kind of person who marries a widower with three children. She goes to church and follows its teaching better than most of us and was brought up in India helping people there. This is a good person.

Compare and contrast with Humza Yousaf. When we saw him trip over himself while riding a scooter, the thing that always struck me was not the unfortunate accident, but the lackey running along beside him holding his sticks. Tsar Humza tsar of all the grotty ferries.

Yousaf while Transport Secretary didn’t think the laws that he made for everyone else applied to him. When he married his first wife, he made her convert to Islam and then after having an affair he blamed his former wife for not being a good enough Muslim. When he wanted to put his daughter in a nursery and discovered there was no place for her, he arranged a sting operation that attempted to prove that the nursery had been racist. What sort of person does this? When the rest of us are turned down for anything, whether it’s a job, renting a flat or a place at university we don’t cry foul, we just accept the decision and move on.

I wouldn’t like to live next door to Mr Yousaf. He might put a stethoscope to the wall in case I said anything that might be a hate crime. I have no problem with Rishi Sunak being PM. I would have no problem if Anas Sarwar became First Minister, but I don’t trust Mr Yousaf. I don’t understand his motives. It is purely accidental that his parents chose to live in Glasgow rather than Bradford. Why is he quite so dedicated to breaking up the UK? Dig around in Mr Yousaf’s past and there are some unsavoury rumours about his associations with Islamist organisations, charities and friends. I have no idea if these rumours are true, but someone should investigate.

The SNP depends on two things for its success. One is that it is the party that will lead Scotland to independence. The second is that it is the anti-Tory party in Scotland. Hatred of Tories motivates Scottish nationalists at least if not more than their desire for independence.

But we have learned two things during the leadership campaign. Nearly half perhaps more supported Kate Forbes despite her being socially conservative, fiscally conservative and in favour of a financial model for Scottish independence that could almost be described as Thatcherite.

She is right of course. The best argument for Scottish independence is conservative. Balance the books, cease to dependent on UK money, undercut the UK by making Scotland more efficient and business friendly. Lower taxes in Scotland compared to the other parts of the UK in order to attract investment and entrepreneurs. Do that for twenty or thirty years and you might well be able to make a sound economic case for Scottish independence.

But if you do that you can hardly call yourself an anti-Tory party. You would be much more Tory than the present Scottish Conservatives, who are largely wets.

Alternatively, you can go down the route that Humza Yousaf proposes. Spend more. Tax more. Rely more on UK money while telling everyone how much you dislike those Tories who subsidise you. But how does this model that failed under Sturgeon succeed under Yousaf? If Yousaf like Forbes is truly going to wait until support for independence reaches 60%, he may as well give up now, because if Sturgeon couldn’t get anywhere near that figure with socialism how will Yousaf?

The only way to get to the magic 60% is to ditch all the anti-Tory nonsense and show Scots that they really would be better off after independence, by making them better off before independence, but that Tory approach favoured by Forbes would cut her off from the Central Belt and would drive the Central Belt into arms of Scottish Labour.

Despite pretending to put the SNP car into eleventh gear, Humza Yousaf needs driving lessons just as much as Sturgeon, because he is going nowhere. His party is no longer likely to take Scotland towards independence anytime soon, because Yousaf will make it more dependent on the UK not less. Worse he has no method which could foreseeably bring about independence either by means of a referendum or anything else. He can no longer plausibly claim that his party his anti-Tory because nearly half of its members voted for a Tory in all but name.

So, what is left is merely innkeeper Humza Yousaf spitefully keeping the brightest mind in the SNP out of the inn, leaving him with the cows, the donkeys and the asses eating from the SNP manger, but without the brains to see that the stable needs a thorough clean out because something smells rather badly of rotten fish.

Run Kate run. Look after your children. Have more. In time find a better job more worthy of your talent.