YOU always like to see innovative approaches in politics; everybody says so. And if shaping policies in fresh and interesting ways is beyond the expertise of your government then just find other ways of signalling inventiveness.

A glance at the previous achievements of Humza Yousaf’s first cabinet suggests that there won’t be anything new and radical in addressing the primary needs of the Scottish people. Mr Yousaf’s predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon, demitted office without having made the slightest dent in the patterns of multi-deprivation attaching to the country’s most disadvantaged communities.

Her administration failed at addressing inequalities in health and educational attainment – the two largest jurisdictions devolved to Holyrood. Nothing epitomised this more than the appalling rise in deaths caused by addiction. The two ministers tasked with stemming this failed miserably: take a bow Joe FitzPatrick and Angela Constance.

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During this time the steep spikes in annual drug deaths were matched only by those recording the vast amounts of cash spent on favoured addiction groups and taskforces. In Scotland, the business of addiction is a well-rewarded sector, yet closed off to those who have lived experience of it. According to Anne Marie Ward, chief executive of FAVOR (Faces and Voices of Recovery) Scotland’s sprawling drugs bureaucracy doesn’t think full recovery is possible, and if it did it would deem it to be unaffordable.

They’d rather just keep addiction simmering away to a manageable extent by throwing different drugs at them. Anything other than funding actual rehabilitation beds. And we can’t be having them, because, well … rehab accommodation is key to recovery and that would obviously threaten jobs in a very buoyant sector.

Nevertheless, the two people chiefly responsible for creating Scotland’s cash-rich addiction zone have been rewarded with shiny new briefs in Mr Yousaf’s cabinet. They take their places amongst a plethora of other party careerists whose records to date are characterised either by non-achievement or outright failure.

And none more so than the new First Minister, who as his leadership rival Kate Forbes pointed out during the campaign, had failed in every job he’d been handed. His deputy, Shona Robison, will be tasked with administering the nation’s finances, a massive job. Her last attempt at mastering one of similar size ended in 2018. That was when she was Health Secretary, a post in which she was shown to be hopelessly out of her depth before being shown the door by her friend and line manager, Ms Sturgeon.

Indeed, when Mr Yousaf’s 28-strong government was announced it was like turning up at the Royal Albert Hall for Swan Lake only to discover it will be performed by an orchestra of kazoo-players.

But hey, such are the esoteric ways of doing politics amongst the SNP’s professional class, that there are plenty of alternative means by which you can convey originality. You simply create fancy new departments with extravagant names and lots of them. And then fill them with your cronies – a process that’s been unfolding over the last few years.

Obviously, berths have to be found for your Scottish Green partners, even though everyone knows you wouldn’t send either of them to go for the messages. So, you give one of them something called Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity (who will also work alongside the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition). And then, for the other one, you get the civil servants to dream up this belter: Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights.

We’ve still got a cabinet secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture. Underneath him is a Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, which seems to be the same thing, but in a different order.

In little more than a decade the number of ministers has almost doubled. At this rate of growth they’ll need to annexe a park somewhere in Edinburgh and build the world’s first Village of Bureaucracy. This will be needed to house all the new civil servants and advisers required to assist these 28 ministers in the discharge of their duties.

The SNP currently has 64 seats at Holyrood. In time it may be possible to guarantee a ministerial position for every one of them. In the protocols governing small children’s football competitions these days it’s important that every child gets a medal. In this way, the little ones are spared the ignominy of being tagged a loser so early in their lives.

I’d maybe suggest handing Ms Slater the task of setting up focus groups to devise new government departments to insinuate themselves into those far-flung crannies of Scottish life that have proven hard to reach.

Personally, I’d be looking at establishing a Ministry for Circular Religion and maybe a couple of sub-departments concerned with sustainable faith and spiritual wellbeing. You could attach a couple of targets too. Maybe something like getting 75% of the population to believe in the same thing by 2040.

You could have a CabSec for the Weather along with junior ministries for Good Weather and Bad Weather. This would obviously feed into Agriculture, Sport and Fishing. I’d also be thinking about a Minister for the Northern Lights with the aim of making them a protected characteristic of Scotland. They’ve been appearing all over the shop in recent months.

One new position stands out in this grandiose temple to civic self-indulgence. It’s the new Ministry of Independence, whose first incumbent is to be Jamie Hepburn. On his elevation, the MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth tweeted: “It is a responsibility that I take seriously given the mandate given to the SNP at the last election which returned a majority to the Scottish Parliament in favour of independence. I look forward to working with colleagues inside and outside Parliament in the period ahead.”

I was under the mistaken impression though, that the First Minister was our actual Minister for Independence and that this was a responsibility shared by the rest of his cabinet. What will Mr Hepburn’s duties involve that aren’t already covered by 112 elected politicians and about 10,000 advisors, researchers and assistants? Will he be knocking about Scotland in Mike Russell’s big yellow camper van handing out leaflets? Will he be responsible for raffles, race-nights, coconut-shys and tombolas?

And what about that 50%-plus quantum of the citizenry who don’t yet fancy the idea of an independent Scotland? They must be absolutely ecstatic that their money is being spent on a 95k-per-annum post with attendant advisors.

So, perhaps we could have another government post: Minister for Things That Are Good For You (whether you like them or not).