SNP members will today begin the task of electing their new party leader and the next first minister of Scotland. Whoever wins will no doubt pledge, as both Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond did before, to govern in the interests of all Scots and not simply those in favour of independence.

This time around, he or she should be held to that commitment each day of his or her leadership.

Scotland remains firmly in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis, with families struggling to afford basic essentials amid high inflation and exorbitant fuel bills.

The NHS could also be described as in crisis, with ever-lenthening waiting times driving increasing numbers of patients towards paying for treatment in the private sector.

A poll conducted by former Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft shortly before Ms Sturgeon announced her resignation last month found voters believed her priorities were very different from theirs.

While her top priorities were seen as achieving independence and gender recognition reforms, voters were more concerned with the NHS and the cost of living.

When she replaced Mr Salmond in November 2014, Ms Sturgeon said: “My pledge today to every citizen of our country is simple but it is heartfelt. I will be First Minister for all of Scotland.

“Regardless of your politics or your point of view, my job is to serve you. And I promise that I will do so to the best of my ability.”

Somewhere over the course of the past eight years, Ms Sturgeon lost sight of that promise and opted instead to appease the predictably incessant calls from within her party to focus all her efforts on securing another independence referendum, to the detriment of health, education, infrastructure and business. On drugs deaths, she admitted she “took her eye off the ball”.

Want to see more SNP fails? – Health Matters

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