SPEAKING to Holyrood Magazine about the anti-deportation protests on Kenmure Street in Glasgow, former justice secretary Humza Yousaf said the public looked to him as a “voice of justice”.

Humza Yousaf is now health and social care minister but, looking over his record at justice, I think he is more likely to be remembered as the man who undermined the public's faith in the law in Scotland.

I first met Mr Yousaf in Holyrood while debating the now overturned Offensive Behaviour at Football Bill. I questioned him at the time, suggesting that this authoritarian bill was really about regulating and criminalising speech.

“Oh, no”, Mr Yousaf replied. Heaven forbid, this was not about regulating speech, it was simply a matter of public order. He was at pains to suggest that he was not a man who was interested in arresting people simply for the words they said.

How things have changed.

I’m not sure if the people around me bought this line. The lawyers I spoke to at the time certainly didn’t and knew that in reality this type of law was a rubber stamp for the police to arrest people at will for singing 'incorrect' songs.

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Worse still, I’m pretty sure Mr Yousaf didn’t buy this line either. He came across as yet another politician who would say one thing one day and another the next depending on what was best for his career.

His apparent concern about not criminalising speech didn’t last long, of course, and in the drafting of the Hate Crime Bill he proved himself to have very little grasp of the basic principles of justice: A number of his initial and excessive proposals were eventually dropped, including the idea that you should arrest someone for a hate crime even if they had no intention of being hateful. The idea of mens rea, that you only arrest and charge those with a crime when there was intent, meant nothing to the voice of justice.

The charge of hypocrisy was also targeted at Mr Yousaf. The essence of justice is that it is applied universally. Recently, however, he has felt more than comfortable celebrating certain illegal gatherings, not passing comment on others, while targeting groups he clearly dislikes.

Additionally, Mr Yousaf may now face legal action by Rangers Football Club for jumping on the outrage bandwagon over what now appear to be false allegations of sectarian singing by their players.

Perhaps most astonishing of all is that Yousaf believes his denunciation of British law enforcement by immigration officials makes him look like a voice of justice to the Scottish people.

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You don’t have to be a fan of immigration laws and deportation methods to see the serious problem with the justice minister undermining the rule of law. I’m guessing Mr Yousaf’s deportation methods would be caring.

Perhaps those that he throws out of the country will receive counselling, who knows? Either way, someone should remind the ex-justice secretary that UK law applies in this country because the Scottish people voted to remain in the UK.

Talking to police officers about this incident, they were gobsmacked. One said it reminded him of Black Lives Matter protestors burning down police stations in the US while the local politicians turned a blind eye.

Part of the problem with the self-deluded “voice of justice”, I suspect, is that the “people” he talks to are part of the elite bubble of which he is part.

Often privately educated, rarely having worked in the real world away from student and then career politics, these politicians are disconnected from ordinary people, and fail to see the jaws drop when they act more like student radicals than figures of authority.

Mr Yousaf is moving into the area of health. This should suit him down to the ground. A perfect place to consult with more experts and interest groups and come up with ever more caring authoritarian policies to make the little people behave correctly.

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