Why Humza Yousaf will struggle to replicate Nicola Sturgeon's star appeal

When Nicola Sturgeon perched on a desk in my classroom and told me there was only one way to make Scotland a better nation — a global nation — it was hard not to be taken in.

Of course, the then 31-year-old junior Member of Parliament didn’t hold back when she proclaimed that only the Scottish National Party could deliver this, but the memory resonates to this day.

That was 2002 in my Glasgow school, five years before her party swept to power, and kept it, for 16 years and counting.

That Sturgeon has been a constant in political and public life in Scotland is undeniable.

Humza Yousaf is not inheriting the once sleek political machine that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon led for two decades

What happens next is much less certain.

In a minor quirk of fate, a young Humza Yousaf, one year above me at Hutchesons’ Grammar School, would have been a couple of classrooms away.

He and many other Scotsmen were swayed to vote for the Nationalists in the years between then and now.

And on Monday, he was chosen by SNP members to lead their party. On Tuesday, he will become First Minister of Scotland, its youngest modern leader yet and the first from a minority background.

Yousaf, a married father of one, is regarded as courteous, pleasant and easy-going — with a knack for a sound bite on TV news.

But he is not inheriting the sleek political machine that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon led as a double act for two decades.

Even diehard SNP loyalists are wondering why has progress slowed to a crawl in the near-decade since Scotland voted “no” to independence in a relatively close 55 per cent/45 per cent referendum in 2014.

why humza yousaf will struggle to replicate nicola sturgeon's star appeal

Leadership rival Kate Forbes (C) lost narrowly to Yousaf in the final poll of SNP supporters. A social and fiscal conservative, popular with non-party voters, she deserves a top job to reflect her status. Getty

In late November, the UK Supreme Court said the Scottish Parliament could not hold a second independence referendum without the approval of Westminster.

Sturgeon was defiant, telling supporters that “Scottish democracy will not be denied”.

But three months later she quit, soon followed by her husband, the party chief executive Peter Murrell, and several key ministers.

Yousaf’s in-tray is not an enviable one. Even if Scotland’s Labour and Conservative parties have failed to make a dent in Nationalist support in recent elections, voters are making their displeasure known in cacophonous protests on social media.

Sturgeon won international recognition for her firm handling of the coronavirus pandemic, plain speaking and down-to-Earth manner.

But Scotland’s devolved National Health Service, like that across the UK, is backed up with at least tens of thousands of delayed appointments, cancer patients on endless waiting lists and crowded accident and emergency rooms that many fear turning up to.

The new leader used his first speech to commit to rejoining the European Union — which the UK left three years ago — but there is no clear path to get there.

And for the party’s most hardcore loyalists, nothing but a radical alternative to another referendum will do.

There is also a great risk he will become bogged down in the politics of the recent past, and combative sessions in Holyrood’s sniping debating chamber.

Yousaf has already committed to appeal Sturgeon’s law on transgender rights, which starkly divided the party and nation and was flatly vetoed by Westminster.

What he does have going for him is youth, optimism and the chance to re-energise the electorate.

He is likely to want to overhaul a Cabinet that has barely seen a fresh face in a decade.

Given that party members voted 52 per cent to 48 per cent for him against key challenger Kate Forbes, a senior position for the latter is certain.

why humza yousaf will struggle to replicate nicola sturgeon's star appeal

For the first time in two decades, the SNP will be led by someone other than Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Getty

Next, he will need to convince the whole electorate — not just the party faithful — that the new leadership is worth another chance.

An Ipsos poll this month found a quarter of the Scottish electorate wanted “none of them” when asked about three SNP candidates: Yousaf, Forbes and outsider Ash Regan.

For now, Yousaf’s main focus must surely be showing Scotland’s electorate — and not just his supporters — that he can run an effective government if it is to stay in power, and perform at the UK parliamentary elections next year.

He’s likely to enjoy a brief honeymoon period when international newspapers are interested in who he is and what he stands for — and when, officially, there is not the legal need for an election until 2026.

Yet, the main focus for Yousaf may be to get out into Scotland’s many communities and cities, and tell them who he is — and why he’s worthy of their votes after a decade and half.

He may also, sadly, need to counter racist and religious abuse from a minority.

I interviewed him after an unpleasant incident in Glasgow almost a decade ago in which he was subject to racist abuse, on camera, while selling a magazine that supports homeless people in Scotland.

“There are many more good people than bad,” he said at the time, brushing off the episode — unfortunately one of many — for the Scot of Kenyan and Pakistani Muslim heritage.

News Related


Louisiana state park opens 2 years after hurricane destroyed 700 homes

GRAND ISLE STATE PARK, Louisiana: Almost two years after Hurricane Ida struck the barrier island and destroyed most of its infrastructure, Grand Isle State Park has reopened. In a statement, ... Read more »

Lionel Messi may not save MLS but he can have a lasting impact on football in America

Lionel Messi shocked many when he announced he would be signing with Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami when he leaves Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this month. MLS, the ... Read more »

Saudi Arabia Wins Seat in UNWTO Executive Council

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has won a seat in the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive Council from 2023 to 2027 for the Middle East region. The Kingdom has ... Read more »

Come and visit the kingdom, Saudi minister tells London business forum

The Minister of Commerce for Saudi Arabia, Dr Majid Al Kassabi, told a London conference on Wednesday that “today, Saudi Arabia is a different Saudi Arabia”. Referring to the progress ... Read more »

Abu Dhabi University graduates 1,516 students

ABU DHABI, 8th June, 2023 (WAM) — Abu Dhabi University (ADU) celebrated its 17th graduation ceremony on 8th June, 2023, with the awarding of degrees to 1,516 students. The ceremony ... Read more »

European Source to Asharq Al-Awsat: Revival of 2015 Nuclear Deal ‘No Longer Possible’

The Secretary-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, did not succeed at calming the fears of Western countries about the continued progress of Iran’s nuclear program, although ... Read more »

Saned urges entities in Sharjah to install ‘Aman’ safety system

SHARJAH, 8th June, 2023 (WAM) — Saned Integrated Facilities Management has urged all government and private entities, industrial and commercial facilities and residential buildings to install the early warning ‘Aman’ ... Read more »

Winnie the Pooh is the star of this upcoming body horror game

Winnie the Pooh is the star of an upcoming body horror title that’s seriously pushing the boundaries on what can be done when a beloved character goes public domain. No ... Read more »

Turkey defends medical tourism standards amid UK criticism after deaths

Turkey has defended its healthcare system after Britain accused it of putting patients’ safety at risk following a rise in deaths of medical tourists. The Turkish embassy told The National ... Read more »

Airlines official said no repeat of airport chaos expected this summer

ISTANBUL, Turkey: In an interview with Reuters, Willie Walsh, director-general of the International Air Transport Association, (IATA), said airlines are prepared to avoid a repeat of last summer’s travel chaos. ... Read more »

IND vs AUS: Travis Head Creates History, Becomes First Batter To Smash Century In WTC Final

Travis Head New Delhi: Travis Head created history in the World Test Championship Final 2023 match against India at the Kennington Oval in London by becoming the first batter to smash ... Read more »

Tennis-Supreme Swiatek outclasses Gauff to reach French Open semi-finals

French Open By Shrivathsa Sridhar PARIS (Reuters) -Holder Iga Swiatek was tested by American sixth seed Coco Gauff in a rematch of their 2022 French Open title clash but the ... Read more »

Le Drian appointed special envoy to Lebanon

ALBAWABA – Former French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has officially been appointed by French President Emmanuel Macron as France’s special envoy to Lebanon, in hopes of working toward resolving ... Read more »

UAE Pro League holds 4th Periodic Meeting

ABU DHABI,8th June, 2023 (WAM) — The UAE Pro League held its fourth periodic meeting with the executive directors of professional clubs via video conferencing. The meeting was headed by ... Read more »

Jordan denounces attack on Saudi embassy in Sudan

Amman, June 8 (Petra) — Jordan on Thursday strongly condemned the attack on the Saudi Arabia embassy in Khartoum, its attachés, and the residence and properties of its employees. Spokesman ... Read more »

FIA WEC and Motorsport Network team up to launch Global WEC Fan Survey

FIA WEC 2023 Global Fan Survey. World’s premier endurance racing series and the motorsport industry’s leading digital platform offer fans the chance to share their views. As the excitement builds ... Read more »

Apple Music is getting 6 new features in a free update – here's what's coming

Apple Music subscribers are set to see several new free features when they update to iOS 17 later this year, including the ability to finally collaborate on playlists, discover new ... Read more »

China, Pakistan, Iran hold first-ever anti-terror talks

China, Pakistan and Iran on Wednesday held their first counter-terrorism dialogue in Beijing in a move that suggests new alignments in the region. The foreign office issued a statement confirming ... Read more »

British Airways and BBC hit by cyberattack

The compromised data includes names, addresses and National Insurance numbers. Getty British Airways, the BBC and retailer Boots have all said their staff were among those hit by a cyberattack ... Read more »

Jordanian authorities arrest a top fugitive

Seized drugs at the police anti-narcotics unit headquarters in Amman, in January 2019. AFP Jordanian security troops have arrested “one of the most dangerous wanted men” in the kingdom, a ... Read more »

FM, Hungarian officials hold talks in Budapest, 1st add

In a joint press conference, Safadi affirmed that contacts between Jordan and Hungary are ongoing, and said, “We have met more than seven times over the past years, and I ... Read more »

KEPS calls on MPs to protect environment

Dr Uqab said the National Assembly has a major role in protecting environmental rights of society members through legislations that protect such rights. Also, the environment protection law of 2014, ... Read more »

Blinken wants Saudi Arabia and Israel to establish relations

Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy summit in Washington. Reuters US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday called for Saudi Arabia and ... Read more »

Free Bike Rides Available in Dubai on This Date

Free Bike Rides Available in Dubai on This Date Dubai RTA and Careem have announced that they will allow individuals with free Careem BIKE rides at 186 docking stations throughout Dubai ... Read more »

PM witnesses inking MoU on developing automotive industry in Egypt

PM witnesses inking MoU on developing automotive industry in Egypt Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly witnessed inking a memorandum of understanding between the automotive industry unit at the Ministry of Trade ... Read more »

FM, Hungarian officials hold talks in Budapest, 2nd add

“We in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan continue to make every effort to solve regional crises, address the consequences of humanitarian, security and political crises, and achieve the security and ... Read more »

مذكرة تفاهم بين الوطني للأمن السيبراني وجامعة البترا

java.lang.NullPointerException Latest news Norwegian Film Days kicks off in Amman Tourism minister inaugurates photo exhibition of Salt, Japanese city of Hagi 50 Jordanian youth trained on partisan activity Middle East ... Read more »

UAE firm that produces water to irrigate floating farms among 36 organisations to receive Expo Live funding

UAE firm that produces water to irrigate floating farms among 36 organisations to receive Expo Live funding Thirty-six grassroots social entrepreneurs from 34 countries have joined the Expo Live Innovation ... Read more »

Zain honors winners at excellence awards ceremony

By Abdellatif Sharaa KUWAIT: Zain Telecommunications Company held the excellence awards ceremony for the best performers during the Zain Football League this season at the St Regis Hotel. Zain’s Chief ... Read more »

PIF takes control of Al Hilal, Al Nassr, Al Ittihad and Al Ahli in Saudi Pro League

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, will take control of four of the country’s most prominent football clubs, as part of the Sports Clubs Investment and Privatisation ... Read more »
Kênh kiến thức kỹ năng, phát triển bản thân, hướng nghiệp, blog nhân sự