I FIND time passes so quickly in later life. It is nearly eight years since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister. I well remember being part of the more than 12,000-strong crowd at the Glasgow Hydro in November 2014. I wonder if the same crowd fired with the same enthusiasm would fill the same venue today. A couple of weeks ago about 2000 loyal souls marched through Glasgow. I was not one of them. I confess my enthusiasm has faded over those years.

The past eight years have seen a large continued presence from the SNP at Westminster and the retention of the reins of the limited powers of Holyrood. The recent council elections have seen the election of more SNP councillors, but with control of many councils retained by assorted Unionists. I find it so depressing to regularly watch SNP MPs make fine speeches usually to an almost empty or uncaring and rowdy House of Commons.

Covid has come and is hopefully about to almost go from our land. The forthcoming inquiries will no doubt apportion political blame for the fact that our friends and family perished in our care homes and hospitals, and some of it will sadly be allocated to the current Scottish Government.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon breaks record as longest-serving First Minister

I sincerely wish I could think of a real political achievement or advancement which has benefitted the lives of many ordinary folk in Scotland during the Sturgeon period. Maybe they are restricted to increases in some benefits and the introduction of baby boxes. Maybe I need to try harder. Maybe I will be reminded of some more in the coming days.

Eight years on, the percentage of our population convinced of the need for Scottish independence stubbornly remains below the 50% level. If a new referendum were called tomorrow, the depressing result of 2014 would sadly be repeated. To get to a level somewhere approaching the 55% or even 60% level by late 2023 seems now an almost impossible task.

The past eight years have been littered by political problems. The Alex Salmond saga, the Rangers directors’ compensation payout, the never-ending multimillion-pound construction of two island ferries, the sale of offshore wind leases for what appears well below their obvious value, to name but a few.

The year ahead is going to be a difficult one for almost everyone, except perhaps the very wealthy. The cost-of-living crisis will dominate the political agenda.

Boris may go or Boris may stay, but either way very hard times are ahead. For the First Minister, the Scottish Government and the SNP, this – and no doubt new, currently unseen, political problems – will arise to deflect their attention away from indyref2.

READ MORE: Key dates in Nicola Sturgeon's career as SNP leader breaks First Minister record

It is not the length of time in political office which should matter. Surely it should be defined by what is achieved during that time.

Iain Wilson

MAY 25 will go down in British history for some very different reasons! It was the day Sue Gray’s report on “Partygate”

was published; a damning report indeed. This report shone a light on what the country already knew – that the PM lied to parliament and the PM received a fine for breaking the law. But another notable event took place on this date, and again it was regarding a political leader, this time Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP. On this day, Ms Sturgeon became the longest-serving First Minister in Scotland.

Both events about political leaders, but that is where the similarity ends!

Catriona C Clark