YOU know that an SNP first minister has got off to a good start when arch-Unionist author JK Rowling is tweeting snark about him literally before he's even got his feet under the table at Bute House.

Rowling accused Humza Yousaf of skating on the same thin ice that, in her view, brought down Nicola Sturgeon. This was a clear reference to the new first minister's determination to mount a legal challenge to Alister Jack's unprecedented use of a Section 35 order in January this year to veto the Gender Recognition Reform bill passed by a large cross-party majority at Holyrood.

The Conservative veto of the GRR bill had nothing to do with Nicola Sturgeon's decision to resign. As the former first minister herself stated, dealing with short term political challenges is part and parcel of the job.

However the point that the trans-obsessed author is overlooking is that by using an undemocratic veto to prevent legislation on a devolved matter passing into law – after the relevant bill had gone through all due processes in the Scottish Parliament – Jack turned this into a far larger issue. This is now about the very foundation of the devolution settlement itself.

It is about the right of the Scottish Parliament to pass legislation on devolved matters even though the government at Westminster disapproves. If the Scottish Parliament can only pass laws which meet with the approval of a Conservative government which Scotland did not vote for, the entire rationale for devolution is rendered meaningless.

And make no mistake, if Alister Jack (below) is allowed to get away with the use of this veto without significant and meaningful political pushback, future Tory viceroys will be emboldened to make greater use of it in future.

The National: Scottish Secretary Alister Jack

It's important not to forget that devolution was sold to the people of Scotland as an alternative to independence and a means to allow Scotland a large measure of legislative autonomy within the UK. Jack's use of the veto has the potential to cut that off at the knees. The Conservatives cynically chose to use the veto on this particular topic because they believed that weaponising a “culture wars” issue would allow them to achieve their goal of destroying the power of Holyrood without taking the politically explosive step of abolishing the Scottish Parliament.

That is why it is important to push back against the veto irrespective of your views on the narrow issue of the GRR bill itself. The new first minister has until mid-April to launch a judicial review against the UK Government's veto, a move that he is widely expected to take. Following his election yesterday he was asked by journalists if he intended to take legal action against the veto and replied: "My first principle, my starting principle, is to challenge that Section 35 order."

Elsewhere, following the election of Humza Yousaf as the new SNP leader, Labour in Scotland announced a bid to win back Scottish voters. They seem to think that SNP voters who are unhappy with the election of Humza Yousaf because they don't believe that he is strong enough on pushing for independence are going to be attracted to a pro-Brexit monarchist party which denies Scottish democracy and refuses to say what the democratic route to another independence referendum might be. So good luck with that one then.

All over the UK, it's Labour infighting that's making the headlines, but not in the anti-independence Scottish media. Labour's NEC voted by 22 votes to 12 to bar former leader Jeremy Corbyn from standing as a Labour candidate at the next election. Sarwar would do well to avoid being dragged into it by being asked to comment.

The first minister vote.

According to procedure any MSP can nominate any other MSP when there is a vote on a new first minister. Douglas Ross, Anas Sarwar and Alex Cole-Hamilton were all nominated. It is usual for the leaders of the opposition parties to be nominated even though they have no chance of being elected. This process is different from that which takes place in Westminster where both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak were both appointed as prime minister by the monarch without any vote of MPs.

READ MORE: What it was like in Holyrood as Humza Yousaf won vote to be Scotland's FM

In his speech accepting his nomination, Humza Yousaf noted that it is a sign of the progress Scotland has made as a nation that two of the four nominations for first minister are members of minority ethnic communities, and no one bats an eyelid about this, an event which would have been incredible only a few decades ago. He vowed to unequivocally stand up for the Scottish Parliament and to defend its powers. As expected, when the votes were announced Humza Yousaf was declared the new First Minister with 71 votes. To no one's surprise the voting broke along party lines.

The next step is for Humza Yousaf to go to the Court of Session to be formally appointed as First Minister, shortly afterwards he will announce his new cabinet, the appointments are expected to be made within hours of this as it is thought that he will wish to have his new team in place by FMQs on Thursday and before Parliament suspends for its Easter break. It is to be hoped that he will offer important roles to his former opponents, but asking Kate Forbes to take on rural affairs may prove to have been an early misstep.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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