It is almost exactly 25 years since veteran SNP politician Winnie Ewing declared on 12 May 1999: ‘The Scottish parliament, which adjourned on 25 March 1707, is hereby reconvened.’ There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Even the Scottish Conservative Party, which had opposed the Scotland Act 1998, became devolution cheerleaders after the Queen opened Holyrood to the strains of Robert Burns’s ‘A Man’s a Man for a’ That’. How far things have fallen since.

Except, things are much worse than that. Scots have recently been beginning to question not just Yousaf’s own competence, not just the policy objectives of the SNP, but also the future of devolution itself. A succession of policy failures and unworkable laws has made a nonsense of inaugural first minister Donald Dewar’s pledge in 1999 to deliver ‘Scottish solutions to Scottish problems’. More like reckless solutions to issues that Scots never thought were problems in the first place.

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, vetoed by the UK government after a trans rapist was placed in a women’s prison, stands out as possibly the most misconceived piece of legislation ever passed by the Scottish parliament. It was passed by the entire parliament in 2022, including by the Labour and Liberal Democrat MSPs. It’s not just the SNP who are in the dock for demeaning devolution.

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