“The Emasculation of Humza Yousaf”

“We are now into the third day of the SNP autumn conference in Aberdeen and it has been frankly underwhelming – underwhelming in terms of total numbers attending, and underwhelming in the lack of vision and awareness demonstrated by the participants.

Party members voted on Humza Yousaf’s “new” policy for achieving independence, but to be honest nobody really knows what it means – the BBC and STV (ITV’s Scottish satellite station) are reporting different interpretations. But it all leads to one conclusion, and that is that despite the rhetoric the SNP and Scottish independence movement’s desire for a second referendum depends on one thing and one thing only – the granting of a Section 30 order by Westminster.

This would delegate the authority from the UK government to the Scottish government to hold a legally and constitutionally binding referendum on independence, as was granted in 2014 by David Cameron. The problem is that Westminster is not minded to grant one again, and without it the SNP s up a creek without a paddle.

Adding insult to injury, Yousaf’s predecessor Nicola Sturgeon made a carefully orchestrated “surprise” visit to the conference yesterday and stole the show, media-wise at least. Her attendance didn’t just undermine Yousaf, it essentially emasculated him and absolutely stole his thunder. It was, in essence, the return of the prodigal daughter.

If he had any sense (he hasn’t) he would have politely asked her to stay away, and if she had any grace (she hasn’t) she would have stayed well away. Her craving for self-publicity overcomes all the usual niceties, and in upstaging Yousaf she has yet again weakened the nationalist position.”

Lt Col Stuart Crawford is a defence analyst and former army officer. Sign up for his podcasts and newsletters at www.DefenceReview.uk

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