RIDDLE me this. Some say Humza Yousaf is trying to distract from the SNP’s financial woes by challenging the UK Government’s Section 35 block on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

But these folk would much rather talk about his supposed distraction attempt than the merit of the challenge itself. So who is creating the real distraction here, and why?

One might expect the Scottish Tories – the majority of whom voted against the bill – to have examined the reasons given for the unprecedented use of the veto power, read up on legal opinions about it and maybe even deployed their own critical thinking skills when asked to offer an opinion on the First Minister’s move.

Instead, Rachael Hamilton MSP has been doing the rounds telling everyone who will listen that it’s a well-timed distraction. The fact that the deadline for seeking a judicial review was yesterday apparently matters not a jot.

Neither does the fact that Yousaf asserted throughout the leadership campaign that he would launch such a challenge. Perhaps she also missed the crescendo of insistence by the Scottish Greens that failing to do so would be a deal-breaker.

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: The truth about the Section 35 challenge

No, clearly this was all part of a carefully orchestrated plan.

Yousaf – despite not having learned about the SNP’s financial situation until after he became First Minister – had the wherewithal to start sowing the seeds of objection to the S35 block right at the start of his leadership campaign, so that – boom! – he could slap it on the table, dead cat-style, just days after admitting it was “quite extraordinary” that his party had been unable to secure new auditors. Genius.

It’s almost as though the Scottish Tories are scared to lead with the argument that the UK Government’s reasons for using Section 35 are strong and that it therefore had the right – under the terms of the Scotland Act – to use the power.

Perhaps they’ve assessed that this won’t play well with a public that may fear it will be the first challenge of many, and instead believe snappy soundbites of absolute nonsense will be more effective. It’s not as if Hamilton doesn’t understand the bill.

She understands it better than most – being a member of the Equalities Committee – which makes her refusal to focus on the conflicts it creates all the more disreputable.

Another distraction popped up on Friday when it appeared that Hamilton’s colleague Stephen Kerr was seeking to suggest a link between transgender identity and learning difficulties.

Confusingly, though, it seems he wasn’t, because the question posed by the account @RealStephenKerr – “Why are more young people wanting to change their gender? Is there a link with having learning/development disabilities?” – was apparently not posed by the real Stephen Kerr at all.

The REAL real Stephen Kerr assured us that “the tweet was written in haste by a member of my team and then deleted as it does not reflect my views”.

READ MORE: Section 35 block on Scottish gender reform to be challenged

It seems safe to assume, then, that the real-real Kerr does not think it appropriate to ask questions about whether young people with certain disabilities are over-represented among those who want to change their gender.

This is perhaps a surprising stance, given he attended a November meeting at which two detransitioners – a man and woman who pursued medical transition as young people only to later regret it – addressed MSPs.

Kerr described it as “one of the most moving experiences that I have had in a long time”.

While it’s possible that he remains ignorant about the concerns alluded to in the tweet by not-the-real Stephen Kerr, it wouldn’t be surprising if he was aware of them.

When the Care Quality Commission inspected England’s Gender Identity Development Service in October 2020, and reviewed a sample of records of young people referred for puberty-blockersing medication, it found half mentioned autism spectrum disorder or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

The controversial tweet was replaced with one which asserted that “ScotGov could reconsider their opposition to some very sensible opposition amendments. But it hasn’t happened".

It’s unclear, however, if Kerr or his colleagues believe that the passing of any of their amendments would have nullified the reasons the UK Government has set out for using Section 35. He said during December’s debate that these were merely aimed at making “what we believe is bad law less bad”.

It’s almost as though these Tory opponents of the bill are actively seeking to delegitimise some of the very concerns both they and others raised during its passage, swerving serious debate in favour of pushing daft but politically expedient lines.

Unlike Scottish Labour, who have deftly ducked for cover with a tacit acknowledgement that the bill they so forcefully supported isn’t one that “works for everyone” (and their amendment referencing the Equality Act was utterly meaningless), the Scottish Tories have a golden opportunity to say “we told you so”.

If they truly cared about the equality conflicts the GRR Bill and other pre-existing self-ID policies have thrown up, they could right now be using their platforms to discuss them in detail.

That they instead choose to divert attention away from these, towards the unrelated issue of the SNP’s financial situation, speaks volumes.