THAT Humza Yousaf voluntarily detonated his majority was a grave mistake he will surely bitterly regret.

Turning on the SNP’s erstwhile Green allies and expecting this to be treated as anything other than betrayal was baffling. Here was an undoubtedly well-meaning and principled man, felled by inexperience and poor advice. That he had become the first Muslim leader of a Western European nation in an age of rampant Islamophobia, showed solidarity with LGBTQ people and – above all else – stood against Israel’s genocide when other states made themselves complicit in the slaughter of the Palestinian people: These are achievements which should be remembered.

But the political implications go far beyond Scotland. There is something of a feeling of a Restoration going on. In the 2010s, Britain’s traditional political elites took a battering. This was first felt in Scotland itself. Although the SNP were in government by then, it was the 2014 independence referendum – which gave the British Establishment a genuine fright when it looked like Yes would edge it – which signalled the first such political upset. The moral panic about "cybernats" marked the first widespread demonisation of such a movement. Whatever you thought about the question of independence itself, here was a defiant cry against a broken status quo.

READ MORE: SNP confirm leadership race details after Humza Yousaf resignation

Later expressions of political disillusionment took both progressive and reactionary forms. There was Corbynism on the left, and then there was a Brexit project defined by nativist populism. Many of the same people who felt shock in 2014 undoubtedly felt the same again when Leave triumphed in 2016, and when Theresa May lost her majority in 2017. Yet all were symptoms of profound disquiet. Britain had been driven into catastrophe by the financial crash, with the economic poison of austerity driving falling living standards, a disintegrating public realm, and declining hope for the young.

There’s this sense, then, that the old guard are well and truly on course to be back in charge: The “grownups” are back in the room, to refer to the discourse deliberately used to infantilise the dissenting. This triumphalism will reach its apogee when the Tories are finally rejected – good! – but then Keir Starmer’s project maintains and indeed continues much of their political project. 

The National: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (Danny Lawson/PA)

READ MORE: Reform UK deputy Ben Habib called out for 'shocking' post about Humza Yousaf

But here’s the problem. The structural reasons which fuelled this unrest have not only not gone away – they have only deepened. From a squeeze in living standards without historical precedented, and the claim there simply isn’t the money to fix our collective problems, despite an abundance of wealth which just happens to be hoovered into the bank accounts – often offshore – of those at the top.

With no transformative policies on offer, and no commitment to overhaul a broken status quo, something is going to have to give. That disillusionment will find political expressions: What will matter is ensuring it isn’t the far right who benefit, as they have done in multiple other countries. So yes, the old guard will celebrate the fall of Yousaf as yet another big leap to their final Restoration. They should beware: Hubris makes the fall even more painful.