Monday 23 October 2023

Is Humza worse than useless?


It’s always been a mystery to me why Humza Yousaf is leader of the SNP and First Minister. I remember during the leadership contest reacting with glee when it was announced that he had won. Could the SNP membership really have been as stupid as to pick Useless? Yes indeed. They were that stupid.

It is now clear that the British electorate has decided to dump the Conservative Party. Labour may turn out to be worse. But voters have decided to give the other party a go. Nothing will change this.

But the swing to Labour is not only going to wipe out much of Tory England it is also going to wipe out much of SNP Scotland. It’s possible that Alex Salmond at his peak could have stopped this. Nicola Sturgeon when she was able to pack them into the Glasgow Hydro could have stopped it too. But Yousaf can’t. Nor can anyone else.

Kate Forbes on the surface would be a better leader, but she would need a whole new SNP to lead. The SNP might be willing to accept a practicing Muslim leader, but it would never accept a practicing wee free. She would split the party and do even more damage than Yousaf.

Yousaf is generally seen as useless. He has achieved nothing of consequence since entering politics. We don’t know why he became the favoured successor to Sturgeon. It may have been to keep a lid on things. This is all part of the mystery.

But if Yousaf was picked for damage limitation reasons there is a danger that the damage will exceed all expectations.

As a member of the Scottish Parliament Yousaf attracted minimal attention. No one outside Scotland was very interested in what he did, what he thought or who he met. But Yousaf is now attracting a lot of attention.

It was unfortunate that Yousaf’s in laws were visiting Gaza when Hamas attacked Israel on 7th October. But it wasn’t just bad luck. They should not have been there. Yousaf was in a privileged position with access to civil servants and contacts who could have told him that the Foreign Office advised against all travel to Gaza. Why didn’t’ he tell his in laws not to go?

Every reasonable person hopes that Yousaf’s relations get out safely and indeed that there are as few casualties in Gaza as possible. But Yousaf appears desperate to make political capital out of the plight of his relations and I think this has been noticed.

Suddenly there are regular stories about Yousaf’s connections with Islamist organisations. In the past two days I have read more about Yousaf meeting with people connected with Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood or a dubious Islamist charity than I have in the past few years. There were always a few such stories if you chose to dig for them, but Yousaf could just about get away with it. That’s becoming harder.

Part of the problem is that it is difficult to find a motivation for Yousaf to join the SNP. His parents would have had zero interest in Scottish independence when they arrived in Scotland. Yousaf suffered from islamophobia and racism as a child and would have been told by numerous people that he was not Scottish. It’s odd that he should have become the ne plus ultra of Scottishness after that.

Wha saw the Humza Yousafs,
Wha saw them gang awa?

For this reason, I always thought he desired Scottish independence for another reason. Just as some people of Irish descent gravitate towards the SNP as a means of achieving the goal of Irish nationalism, so too I think some people gravitate towards the SNP because of their hope that Scottish independence might damage the West generally and punish the UK for its foreign policy choices such as supporting Israel and sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yousaf is a mass of contradictions. On the one hand some Muslims criticise him for his liberalism. He has usually been willing to adopt progressive viewpoints on gay rights and transgender. But privately these sorts of viewpoints must conflict with the Islam that he is taught at the mosque. It must at times be difficult to hold together the two ideas, what he has to tell his SNP colleagues and what he has to believe as a good Muslim.

The contradiction can also be seen in Yousaf divorcing his first wife after he had an affair because she was not a good Muslim and next marrying his second wife Nadia El-Nakla after she had an affair and was divorced by her husband. What is it to be a good Muslim?

I think this is the problem for Muslims living in the UK including Scots like the Yousafs. Their parents liked the wealth of the UK and the opportunities, but rejected everything else about us. But those who grew up in Scotland are more torn. They don’t wholly reject what our country has to offer. Some are not wholly observant Muslims. But on an issue like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Muslims feel the need here at least to assert their Islam even if in nothing else. This explains the excesses at the demonstrations.

I don’t know how much Yousaf has flirted with Islamism. I think most of those who shout “Jihad, Jihad, Jihad” [i.e. inner struggle, inner struggle, inner struggle] are playing a rebellious game and would be horrified if they actually were made to fight a Jihad. At this point they would suddenly find that they were British. Save me save nice British Foreign Office that I’ve always despised up to now.

Yousaf is not a Jihadist agent sent to destroy Scotland with his uselessness. That is a conspiracy theory too far. If Hamas wanted to infiltrate the SNP and eventually the Scottish Government, my guess is that they could have done better. These people may hit their own hospital with rockets, but they are not completely useless.

But Yousaf is not merely useless. He also I strongly suspect holds very dubious views about radical Islam and shares with his wife the desire that Palestine should be free from Israelis. He will be careful not to say this, but if he didn’t think this, he wouldn’t have met the people he most probably did.

Quite a lot of Scots are willing to flirt with support for the IRA and also with Islamic terrorism, but only so long as it doesn’t happen here. It’s a fun game to play from a distance, but that’s all. Far too many in the SNP flirt with very dubious sympathies. You might think it attracts support, but it’s much more likely that ordinary Scots will reject you if you bring such conflicts here. Yousaf has much more damage to do yet. He is worse than useless. 


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