Humza Yousaf being photographed waving at a crowd with the Scottish flag in the background.
Credit: Iain Masterton / Alamy Stock Photo

The end of Humza Yousaf's brief stint as Scotland's First Minister will doubtless prompt immediate comment on his skills of political management, but it arises from at least three other factors over which he had no control: firstly the constitutional arrangements for devolved bodies, which prevent Yousaf calling an election, and require him to win the support of a proportional, balanced Parliament; second, the shift in the balance of party support in Scotland which has been in train since the failure of the SNP's bid for independence ten years ago and the change in Labour's leadership in 2020; and lastly the long shadow of Nicola Sturgeon's leadership and her surprise departure. As John Major, Gordon Brown and Theresa May all found, following a long-serving and once-popular predecessor who left office amidst controversy is often a poisoned chalice, and one which is hard to pass on.