Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP, was confirmed as First Minister of the fourth session of the current incarnation of the Scottish Parliament in the Holyrood chamber this morning.
His election by 68 votes to nil with 57 abstentions will now see him formally appointed to the role which he has already held for four years by Her Majesty the Queen.
After replying to the opposition parties (see below), the new First Minister gave a thoughtful, conciliatory and positive speech in which he set out six areas in which the Parliament as a whole could work together for the betterment of Scotland.
He began by pointing out that “the voices in the past” had been joined by the voices of New Scots in the 21st century, referring to the election of Marco Biagi, Humza Yousaf, and Hansala Malik.
Salmond said: “This land belongs to all who choose to call it home”
He called for Scotland to be rid of bigots, adding: “Modern scotland is built on equality. We will not tolerate sectarianism as a parasite on our national game of football or anywhere else in this society.”
Saying that Scotland was “not small in imagination or ambition” the First Minister said that Scots “want more,” namely “the control of the economic levers.”
As well as the already made claims for Scotland to have more borrowing powers, control of corporation tax, and its share of the Crown Estate revenues, he called for Scotland to have “control of our own excise,” and control of broadcasting so that a Scottish digital channel could be created.
Finally he demanded more of a say in European affairs for Scotland.
He said: “I think we should seize the moment – act together to bring these powers back home.
“Let this parliament move forward, as one, to make Scotland better.”
Mr Salmond concluded: “We see our nation emerge from the glaur of self-doubt and negativity. A change is coming and the people are ready.
“They put ambition ahead of hesitation and the process is not about endings, it’s about beginnings.
“Whatever changes take place in our constitution, we will remain close to our neighbours.
“My dearest wish is to see the countries of Scotland and England stand together as equals.
“There is a difference between partnership and subordination – the first encourages mutual respect, the second breeds resentment.”