Today Scotland’s new MSPs begin arriving at Holyrood to get ready for the next five years.
There is something very invigorating about the start of the new parliamentary term - as new MSPs find their feet alongside old hands, everyone wants to repay the trust voters have just placed in them by making a positive impact.
The election campaign over the last six weeks brought out a lot of clear differences between the parties - but it also brought out many areas of common ground.
The SNP has won an historic third term in the Scottish Parliament with 63 MSPs, over a million votes in Scotland’s constituencies – a first – and the highest share of the constituency vote ever achieved.
This is the most important Holyrood election since we regained our national Parliament in 1999.
We will soon have new tax and welfare powers. And it is crucial that we have a government that is capable of using those powers properly.
And, I firmly believe, only the SNP has the policies, the experience and the vision to use those powers to take Scotland forward.
I am delighted to introduce you to the first issue of our new magazine dedicated to business life in Scotland today.
SNP Insight will keep you informed each quarter about all aspects of Scotland’s vibrant business sector and how the SNP is working with the business community to build a brighter future for everyone.
On Thursday, the people of Scotland go to the polls to elect the government for the next five years.
It’s been an immense privilege to serve as MSP for Glasgow Southside and as Scotland’s First Minister, and I hope that the people of Glasgow – and Scotland – allow me to continue after the election.
As First Minister, I am extremely proud of the SNP’s record in delivering for the North East of Scotland – not least on healthcare, which we have absolutely transformed since we came to power in 2007.
We value Scotland’s minority ethnic communities and the huge contribution they make to our society, culture and economy.
We want tolerance, respect and inclusion to be the hallmarks of modern, fairer Scotland – and have set out a number of steps to achieve this for all black and minority ethnic (BME) people in Scotland.
I had the privilege of receiving a university education and it’s one of the reasons why I am able to be in the position I am today, seeking re-election as First Minister. Dodgy hairstyles and questionable fashion choices aside, it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.
During my maiden speech in the House of Commons last year, I pointed out the absurdity of this Tory government’s regressive plans to cut Housing Benefit for young people – a move which would sum up the reckless, right-wing agenda of what is the most extreme government we’ve endured since Margaret Thatcher.