The SNP has been the Scottish Government since 2007. That’s nearly 15 consecutive years of leadership and service to the people of Scotland, who have continually placed their faith in us. It is a formidable achievement.
Nicola Sturgeon has been First Minister for nearly 10 years, forming governments with gender balanced cabinets, and a healthy mixture of experienced politicians and new faces learning the art and skill of government.
Both Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes have performed well as Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries. They have benefitted from the wisdom and support of their more experienced colleagues, and from Nicola’s strong, progressive leadership, which has delivered election win after election win. In fact her leadership has delivered the SNP more sustained and growing electoral success than the we have known in nearly 90 years of existence!
Being a member of the Scottish Government is a huge privilege and brings with it collective responsibility.
It is the SNP’s job to draw attention to and call out the damage being part of this discredited ‘union of un-equals’ does to Scotland. Our job is to highlight the deficiencies and incompetence of the UK Government, and to focus on the many successes and achievements of our colleagues in the Scottish Government – achievements delivered with one hand tied behind their back due to the incompetence of Westminster government.
My understanding of collective responsibility is quite clear and it is important to find the balance during this period of the election of a new party leader and First Minister. There is scope for each candidate to present their ideas in a positive and constructive manner without undermining the government they are part of.
Our First Minister must be a supremely effective communicator – someone who builds trust among the electorate and who promotes collective responsibility in his or her government team. Their focus needs to be on the big picture, including an understanding of how what they say will be perceived and received.
Humza has proven himself to be a highly effective and disciplined member of Government, most recently with his skill as a respectful negotiator averting strike action in NHS Scotland in the teeth of the worst winter pressures we have ever known. His respect for collective responsibility is clear. And now he is proving to be the only communicator who thinks of the wider and long term implications of what he says during this contest among colleagues.
I am proud to support #HumzaForScotland. First Activist. First Communicator. First Minister!