THOSE in search of enlightenment finally heard the sound of one hand clapping at FMQs. 

It turned out to be the sound of SNP backbenchers pretending to like Humza Yousaf.

The First Minister was defending the latest poison pill in the Bute House Agreement. 

The Greens love Highly Protected Marine Areas, which would ban fishing in a tenth of Scottish waters, and insisted they were in the joint government deal with the Nats. 

The only hiccup is no one else seems to like HPMAs.

Certainly not the coastal and island folk who could lose their living, nor their local MSPs, including ex-SNP ministers.

Mr Yousaf insists no HPMA will be imposed on a community “vehemently opposed” to it.

So Douglas Ross had a question for him: what was his definition of a community and what level of opposition would be deemed vehement enough? 

Sometimes the simple ones are the worst. The FM hadn’t a clue. 

He flipped through his notes. He attacked the Tories. He spoke v e r y  s l o w l y

But deep within his brain, you could tell the seagulls had stopped following the trawler.

“We have done the consultation and we’ve had an enormous response to it,” he said at last. Well, yeah. An enormous raspberry.

He vowed to engage with communities “that may well be affected”. Walk the plank perhaps? 

Then, a stroke of genius. He’d tell everyone later. It would, he intoned, be “completely wrong” to explain what he was going on about until after he’d digested the consultation. 

Ever harsh, the Scottish Tory leader said the FM was “completely unable” to explain himself.

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Mr Yousaf repeated that he would define communities, consent and whatnot. Just not yet.

Some cabinet members clapped half-heartedly then seemed to forget why they’d started.

“There’s muted applause from behind him,” scoffed Mr Ross. “If he could see the glum faces on the SNP members - it’s incredible.” Being pedantic, it was more like gross.

Mr Yousaf made an impassioned defence of HPMAs. The clapping fell to a whisper.

“Gosh, it’s getting worse,” laughed Mr Ross. “If I had another question there might be none.” 

The FM was “clearly losing his grip on his party” and should scrap his “anti-fishing plans”. 

Mr Yousaf gave it one last go, and said it was actually Mr Ross losing his grip. Honest! 

There was more clapping this time. Relief, I reckon.

Later, in a question about forestry, an MSP told us it was vital that “the right trees are planted in the right place at the right time”.

Mr Yousaf shows what can happen otherwise.