From school report to obituary, life is just one long job appraisal. How did you get on? Did you achieve what you wanted? Would you have done anything differently?

Appraisals fell by the wayside during the pandemic, people and businesses being more concerned about surviving the here and now than looking back. But like workers themselves, appraisals are making a return. Humza Yousaf has his today.

Not that the First Minister’s appearance before the Scottish Parliament’s Conveners Group is billed as such. The group, Holyrood’s equivalent of the Commons Liaison Committee, consists of all the conveners sitting as one. Think of them as a sort of super-jury, Eurovision style, but without the formal ability to award nul points (which would liven up proceedings no end, but there we are).

Instead, the noon meeting - touch of drama there - is described as the group’s first opportunity to question Mr Yousaf “on his vision for Scotland and the outcomes he and his Government aim to achieve by 2026”. In short, an appraisal. An assessment of where he is getting things right, and wrong, and his plans for the next three years.

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It is only two months since Mr Yousaf was sworn in as First Minister, which may seem an unreasonably short period on which to judge him. Yet there is one area in particular where he has expended a lot of effort. To wit, acting as if he is just in the door instead of in with the bricks of the last lot.

He did waver on this. When running for the leadership of the SNP he did so as the self-professed “continuity candidate”. After all heck broke loose he morphed into the “deer in the headlights First Minister”, every twist of the unfolding scandal seeming to surprise and dismay him as much as the rest of us. We were all in this chaos together, except some of us had been sitting in Cabinet for five years already. Isn’t that right First Minister? It is hard to disown the past when you have played a key part in shaping it. Alas for Mr Yousaf, the public and media do not have the memory spans of goldfish. We remember, because it was not long ago or is still happening, the many areas in which the Scottish Government was a rolling bin fire. Ferries, waiting times, attainment gap, drugs deaths - that long, familar list of failures that he, like the former First Minister, presided over.

Mention of his predecessor brings us to another area where Mr Yousaf could and should do better. Like Nicola Sturgeon, the new First Minister has refused to issue a bold, no-quibbles apology for the upheaval and embarrassment of the last few months. It is the first step in any crisis management plan - accept you failed. Sure, it is not the thing to do politically, but it would be appreciated. Saying nothing insults the public’s intelligence and makes you seem even more arrogant.

Mr Yousaf also needs to be clearer on where he stands regarding his predecessor. Another politician would have cut her loose immediately. Perhaps he thinks he still owes a debt of loyalty to her. As was pointed out by a rival during the leadership campaign, Mr Yousaf was a failure in every brief he held - transport, justice, and health. Yet he kept his job. It was the Sturgeon way. It cannot be his.

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One area where Mr Yousaf should be commended is keeping the show on the road after the wheels came off. Okay, maybe it was vaulting ambition and arrogance that made him throw his hat in the ring for party leader and First Minister. Actually, there is no maybe about it. Yet he could have run for the hills like the rest of his colleagues bar two. But he didn’t. The business of politics as usual was resumed. There was no civil unrest, no storming of Holyrood. We all had a moan then life went on. Sometimes, boring is good. See Liz Truss for more information.

To give Mr Yousaf further due, he has proved adept at stopping digging when he is in a hole, as when he paused the Deposit Return Scheme. It is still a mess, and if Downing Street has its way it will be binned shortly, but it would have been worse for businesses had it gone ahead unamended. The First Minister also made the right judgment call when he took the side of Joanna Cherry and free speech against comedy club staff who wanted to no-platform the MP.

So far then, so patchy, with some moves commendable, others not. We turn now to Mr Yousaf’s plans for the future. This is the point where appraisals usually wind up. He has put forward his vision for Scotland in a publication snappily titled “Equality, Opportunity, Community: New leadership - a fresh start”. It is this document that the Conveners Group will focus on.

With a foreword by his good self followed by declarations from his ministers, the paper is the usual mix of cherry-picked achievements and lofty intentions.

Whenever I read such things I’m reminded of the late Guardian journalist Simon Hoggart. Using what came to be known as Hoggart’s Law, he would test the worth of a statement by reversing it. Or as he put it more pithily, “It’s a good rule that if the opposite of something is absurd it wasn’t worth saying in the first place.”

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Mr Yousaf’s paper is stuffed with such declarations. “We will continue to tackle poverty in all its forms and improve the life chances of people across our country,” he states. This would be in contrast, presumably, to those parties which would ignore poverty and curb life chances. Or “We will deliver efficient and effective public services” as opposed to inefficient and useless ones.

It is hard to disagree with such broad brush aims, but where Mr Yousaf must show he can deliver is in the detail. How he will raise the money, for instance, where he will spend it, or save it. Thus far in his political career he has fallen down on detail and in doing so failed overall.

I expect the First Minister will leave his encounter with the Conveners Group with good wishes ringing in his ears. It’s nice to be nice and all that. But there will be other appraisals, the ballot box kind in particular, and they may not be as generous.