Humza Yousaf and The SNP, is Scotland further from independence?

Today we speak to Scottish pundit Lesley Riddoch an award-winning broadcaster, journalist and author about Scotland's new first minister and the issues faced by the SNP.

Humza Yousaf has pledged to be a "first minister for all of Scotland" after being chosen by party members to replace Nicola Sturgeon. Mr Yousaf, who had been serving as health secretary, also vowed to "kickstart" a grassroots campaign that would "ensure our drive for independence is in fifth gear".

Here are some of the other issues that are looming in his in-tray:

  1. The mammoth task required fixing the problems across health and social care. More than 600,000 people are on a waiting list; A&E departments are regularly full; one in every six patients in hospital cannot get out, despite being ready to be discharged.
  2. Education: Before the pandemic, the Scottish government saw education as its defining mission. It wanted to be judged by its progress in raising attainment and helping children and young people from disadvantaged areas. Inevitably, the pandemic has thrown up new problems which are still real issues.
  3. Scotland's business lobbies hope for a reset in their relations with Bute House. Several feel their concerns have taken a low priority under Nicola Sturgeon.
  4. Climate change: Tackling climate change was one of Nicola Sturgeon's priorities, with the Scottish Parliament setting some of the most ambitious targets in the world. But year after year those targets have been missed and the government's independent advisers have said Scotland's lead has been lost.
  5. The government's track record on the NHS is never far from a political rammy, but increasingly those working within health and social care are asking policymakers to step back from arguing among themselves and give some candid consideration to what kind of reform is needed. The new FM says his priority is to recover and reform the NHS but he won't deviate from its founding principle, to be free at the point of use.

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