Yousaf has failed the test of both sincerity and strength. To decide on a spending commitment of hundreds of millions of pounds 24 hours before your conference speech because you were spooked by the sampling from a few middle-class polling districts in a byelection is weak. A First Minister who claimed his leadership would be defined by using his tax powers to help the poorest, only to give up on that to introduce a panic measure that offers more to the wealthiest, has a sincerity problem.

It’s difficult to believe that, between the Spring and Autumn of the same year the First Minister has been on an ideological journey on the progressive taxes he said would define his leadership. At best he is now left looking inconsistent and incompetent, at worst he looks desperate and devoid of principle.

We learned from Nicola Sturgeon’s lack of action on her own ‘personal defining mission’ of abolishing the attainment gap that there is only ever one real priority for the SNP. Yousaf’s abandonment of his supposed defining mission after just a few months is more politically damaging than a mere policy failure.

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