SNP Leadership Runners And Riders

A pantomime for the demented

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Puffin’s favourite Nicola Krankie waves ta-ta.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon,
Scottish Government
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

If Westminster politics is show business for ugly people then the Holyrood equivalent is a pantomime for the deformed and demented.

Amidst a blizzard of criticism for putting rapists in women’s jails and the inability of the Scots Nats to call an independence referendum without the approval of the UK parliament, Puffin’s favourite Nicola Sturgeon announced her resignation on 15th February.

When nominations to choose a successor closed nine days later, the resulting leadership contest was to feature three candidates; Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ashten Regan.

Voting amongst the SNP’s 100,000 members will begin on 13th March and conclude on 27th March with the result announced later that day.

Between now and then campaigning is underway through a series of TV debates. Additionally, hustings take place at the likes of Glenrothes and Dumfries, however in small venues only open to SNP members and which exclude the public.

As for the bookies, Paddy Power makes the contest a two-horse race with Yousaf at 8/11 followed by Forbes at 11/10 with three-legged Regan limping along on 14/1.

In the meantime, one feels obliged to pen a Going-Postal runners and riders preview.

Humza Yousaf

Humza Haroon Yousaf is the SNP’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care and Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Pollock, an area with a large immigrant and Muslim population. The 37-year-old’s accountant father, Muzaaffar, is a Pakistani immigrant and his mother, Shaaista, a Ugandan Asian.

Privately educated at the city’s £13,000 a year Hutchesons’ Grammar School, at Glasgow University Humza graduated in Politics and rose to be President of Glasgow University Muslim Students Association and a member of the Student Representative Council.

After graduating, Mr Yousaf worked as a parliamentary assistant to a number of SNP MSPs, including Nicola Sturgeon and former leader Alex Salmond before being elected to Holyrood himself in 2011.

Mr Yousaf has never had a job outside of politics but has volunteered in the charity sector as a media officer with the controversial Islamic Relief. Controversial because in 2020 the entire UK board were forced to stand down after an anti-semitism scandal. Also at Islamic Relief, as a communications officer, was Yousaf’s first wife and Muslim convert Gail Lythgoe. Additionally, Gayle was an SNP member and sat on the party’s Executive Committee.

They married in 2010. Shortly afterwards Gail was involved in a series of scandals involving fake leaflets and emails containing false claims against her husband’s political opponents.

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Present Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice: Humza Yousaf,
Scottish Government
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Islamic Relief isn’t the only dodgy charity that Yousaf has been linked to. In 2012 a charity of which he was a director, the Scottish Islamic Foundation, was wound up after spending several hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money with almost nothing to show for it and with large sums unaccounted for. Yousaf’s aunt and mother were also employed by the charity which was placed on a watch list by the Quillian Foundation after being described by them as an entry-level group for Islamists.

Gail and Hamza divorced in 2017, the trauma of which the then Scottish Secretary of Justice blamed for his conviction for driving a friend’s car without insurance.

As well as leaving Humza, ex-wife Gail left the SNP. In the run-up to the 2019 general election she urged voters to support the Greens and referred to the SNP as ‘a cult’.

The second Mrs Yousaf is Nadia El-Nakla; a Palestinian, an SNP activist and previously part of a love triangle with Dundee SNP councillor Craig Melville. Biazairrely Mr Melville’s text messages to his Muslim love contained a wall of anti-Islamic hate and death threats which, when discovered by Nadia El-Nakla’s husband, resulted in Mr Melville being prosecuted for sending racist texts. Having been forced to leave the SNP, he also stepped down from Dundee City council.

Ms Nakla is little better. As part of Dundee’s Justice For Palestine group, she rants on YouTube about (careful now) “Israelis”. At an event in 2017, she conflated the Holocaust with the situation in Gaza.

“…. murdered in concentration camps and exactly the same thing is happening in Gaza, exactly the same thing.”

In doing so, Nakla falls foul of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s full definition of anti-Semitism. A definition which has been adopted by Scotland’s SNP Government.

Astonishingly, after being prosecuted for driving without insurance, the Minister for Justice was promoted to secretary for health. Early on in his tenure, he crossed swords with care home magnates the Fowdar family.

In August 2021, playing the race card through a supplicant journalist at a supplicant newspaper, the Yousafs claimed they had been victimised when being refused a nursery place, albeit over a year previously. The nursery concerned was a Fowdar’s business, Little Scholars at Broughty Ferry near Dundee. Interestingly, members of the Fowdar and Yousaf clans live on the same exclusive west of Glasow estate.

The legal proceedings dragged on for eighteen months with it not being until last month that The Guardian newspaper reported Mrs Yousef had dropped her legal action against the nursery.

The Fowdars remain furious, with Mrs Usha Fowdar telling The Guardian she was 100% prepared to see the Yousefs in court before adding,

“[It] beggars belief that, rather than pick up the phone to quickly resolve what was a simple misunderstanding, they colluded in a half-baked sting operation and then mounted a vicious and cynical campaign against us in the national media. What sort of people do that?”

In response, the Yousaf’s lawyer, the interesting Aamar Anwar, claimed the Care Inspectorate had upheld his client’s complaints against the nursery. The Fowdars dispute this and dispute the way in which the Care Inspectorates’ findings were reported in the Scottish media.

More about the case, and Mr Anwar and his family, can be found here in a previous Going-Postal report.

This month attention has focused on Anum Qaisar, the SNP Westminster MP for Airdrie and Shotts who ‘gained valuable experience’ when being under Mr Yousaf as a personal assistant. A race and Islamophobia card obsessive, Ms Qaisar is being linked romantically to Mr Yousaf by social media which is also awash with claims of donations to the SNP from Ms Qaisar’s wealthy retailer father.

Also under the spotlight is Humza’s failure to vote for same-sex marriage having at the time of the Holyrood vote been in a vital meeting with the Pakistani High Commissioner. According to former First Minister Alex Salmond, Yousaf skipped the key vote due to ‘religious pressure’ by arranging a convenient diary clash.

Kate Forbes

Always worth Saying, Going Postal
Kate Forbes.
Kate Forbes speaking at SNP conference,
Scottish Politico
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Kate Forbes is Scotland’s Finance Secretary. Born in Dingwall, she spent much of her childhood in India. She claims to be a comprehensive school pupil who graduated from Selwyn College, Cambridge. This is untrue. She was privately educated at an international school when in India. We shall forgive her, as her un-progressive Christian beliefs have led her to advocate on behalf of the unborn and the terminally ill. She also expressed concern regarding Scotland’s gender reassignment legislation, in return for which she received a wall of hate from bigots.

After Selwyn, Kate completed an MSC at Edinburgh University in *cough* Diaspora & Migration History. Incidentally, if you think Westminster show business is a bit of a bubble, the Holyrood pantomime is even worse. Twenty-one (of 163) MSPs elected to the Scottish Parliament (including Kate) in 2016 were Edinburgh University graduates. Kate is well qualified to be Scotland’s Finance Secretary as she was an accountant for two years.

Although not an MSP when the vote took place, Kate has made it clear she would have voted against same-sex marriage. On account of this, the political bubble and social media have made frenzied attempts to force Kate out of the contest. However, she has held on to her convictions and refused to budge both from her candidacy and Christian views. Not only does she remain in the race, but is placed only slightly behind the bookie’s favourite Humza Yousaf.

Ashten Regan

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Ash Regan, previously Ashten Denham.
Minister for Community Safety, Ash Denham,
Scottish Government
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Ashten Regan is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh East. Born in Glasgow but raised in England, Ashten attended Keele University and graduated in International Relations. There followed further studies in Public Relations. A working life in London beckoned with her previous employers including ScottClem, Spreckley, Zinc Management and Rocket PR. More recently she moved to Scotland to be a digital marketeer at the Common Weal, a pro-independence think tank. Ashten was elected to Holyrood in 2016.

There is a truism regarding those who work in public relations. “If they’re so good at PR, why does everybody hate them?” That means you Max Clifford and Alastair Campbell and it also threatens to mean Ms Regan.

In 2019 when Minister of Community Safety and known as Ash Denham, The Scotsman ran a story claiming there was a problem of bullying in Ashten’s office with members of staff being paid off and then silenced with non-disclosure agreements.

Asten has also been deducted house points for putting her children through private school. Added to which the rank outsider is an unconvincing public speaker, easily muddled when interviewed.

The Likely Winner

Thus far the big winners in the contest have been the opposition parties in Scotland, as the SNP make fools of themselves with third-rate candidates mauling each other in public while the party’s record in government is trashed.

As for the voting, SNP big guns back Yousaf as a continuity candidate. A continuity meaning more of the same failed policies alongside jobs for the boys and familiar old snouts still glued to the Holyrood trough.

Your humble author (who is not always right) suspects the SNP electorate is not swayed by the high-ups in their own party, or are as ‘progressive’. They will vote for Kate Forbes. Her tenure will be brief. Expect the pantomime to conclude with a Mrs Truss-type palace coup replacing Forbes with the Edinburgh political bubble’s preferred shoo-in, Humza Yousaf.


Going-Postal, Glesga Gang Goings-on Bloodbath
The Guardian, Islamic Relief anti-Semitism Scandal
The Scotsman, Fake Leaflet Row
Daily Record, Love Rat Politician
Youtube, Nadia El Nakla Justice for Palestine
Youtube, Nadia El Nakla Free Palestine Demo
The Herald, Islamic Group Faces Closure
The Scotsman, Nursey Manager Still Working
The Guardian, Yousaf Family drop case

© Always Worth Saying 2023