Euan McColm Euan McColm

Has Humza Yousaf achieved anything in his first 100 days?

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Perhaps Humza Yousaf’s greatest achievement in his first 100 days as First Minister is that he has survived them. Since succeeding Nicola Sturgeon in March, Yousaf has stumbled from crisis to crisis. His leadership has played out like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone where, long ago, the lead character got the message that they should be careful what they wish for. The new First Minister inherited a party that showed no sign of losing its position as the dominant force in Scottish politics. Three months on, the SNP is in a mess with voters abandoning it in favour of a unionist Labour party. 

Yousaf took power promising his supporters he’d built on the progress made towards independence by Sturgeon. Now he’s flailing around, trying to shore up the nationalist vote. In fairness to him, unimpressive though he is, it’s hard to see how he could have played the bum hand he received any better. Within days of becoming party leader, Yousaf faced the nightmare of a police raid on the home Sturgeon shares with her husband, former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell. Murrell was arrested and questioned as a suspect as part of a police probe into allegations of financial impropriety within the party. Soon afterwards, former party treasurer Colin Beattie MSP was lifted by cops and then, almost a month later, Sturgeon was arrested too.

In fairness to Yousaf, unimpressive though he is, it’s hard to see how he could have played the bum hand he received any better.

That investigation continues. Though no charges have been made at this stage, the entire process has been an impossible distraction for Yousaf, who spent much of the first weeks of his leadership giving a series of damaging interviews in which he offered running commentary on his party’s legal woes.

It was all supposed to be so very different.

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