ALONG from Desperate Dan’s statue on Dundee’s windy City Square another grizzled entertainer was coaxing a tune heroically from a seasoned guitar. It was a note-perfect rendition of The Strawbs’ 1973 classic, Part of the Union.

A few hundred yards away, delegates from the STUC Congress were filing out of the Caird Hall. One of them, acknowledging perhaps, the song’s steadfast chorus flicked the busker a fraternal salutation and dropped some coin in his guitar-case.

Oh, you don't get me, I'm part of the union You don't get me, I'm part of the union You don't get me, I'm part of the union Until the day I die, until the day I die

Few others though, it seemed, had twigged to this small act of solidarity. The song had been released at a time when Britain was in the midst of industrial unrest and the three-day week.

Not long after this, Humza Yousaf was exiting the building flanked by advisers and security detail. He is way too young to have known this song.

Just as well. Scotland’s First Minister has become obsessed with the waves of hatred he believes are engulfing modern Scotland. Look again at that chorus: “You don’t get me, I’m part of the Union.” On recent form, he might be inclined to view this as a cruel provocation with the sole purpose of hurting his feelings.

A little while earlier, Mr Yousaf’s speech had made low-key look euphoric. I’ve seen philatelists discuss the Seahorse High Values of 1913 with more gusto. A press colleague is more kindly. “This was Gettysburg compared with Anas Sarwar’s effort yesterday,” he drawled.

The Herald: Desperate Dan’s statue on Dundee’s City SquareDesperate Dan’s statue on Dundee’s City Square (Image: free)

To be fair to both men, addressing the STUC congress is miles out of their comfort zone. Each is accustomed to bursts of contrived and orchestrated applause at their own tribal gatherings. That’s not really on-brand for trade union delegates.

The theme this year is ‘Workers Winning Together’, a noble aspiration. We’d been told Mr Yousaf would address: support for workers; the challenging financial landscape and Just Transition. And to be fair he did eventually get around to these, chucking in all his clichéd folderols. There would be an Action Plan, though I recall not of what. Mercifully it didn’t come with the customary ‘five points’.

Plans around Just Transition were “still developing”. He’d be standing ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with some people and putting others “at the very heart of things”. Some unfortunates were “being ridden roughshod over” because in a speech like this someone always needs to be ridden roughshod over.

Mr Yousaf though, couldn’t resist another outing for his favourite theme: how hateful Scotland has become. He reached out to “the everyday victims of hate crime” of which there are still “far too many”. Then it was on to those who “experience hate at work” or who are “victims of hatred”.

The man is obsessed with how hate-filled his fellow citizens have become.

When did this happen? Should there be a period of national penance and a truth and reconciliation commission? Tony Blair and Bill Clinton are still jouking around. Gordon Brown must surely still have their numbers.

There was another pet theme. The Tories were the author of all manner of malfeasance. It made you wonder what Scotland could achieve if we controlled Health, Education, Policing and Infrastructure. Oh, wait …

A couple of hours later I returned to the city square songsmith. He was singing Hotel California. "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave".

That would have sent Humza round the twist