WELL, that was quite the week last week. I’m still having a delayed reaction to Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership having ended.

I used to say to people that when she is no longer first minister, we will be looking back at just how lucky we were to have had her. Particularly when we look back over the last few years, we went through such a harrowing time for so many.

She was the face we looked to for guidance and reassurance; the person who acknowledged our grief and comforted us, like a rudder of a big ship steering us through it all.

I am just so grateful she was the right person at the right time to get us through. I am thankful for her service, which always comes at a huge personal cost. I hope now she gets to just live and enjoy her time how she wishes, she more than deserves it.

Change was always going to be difficult, and whoever took over from Nicola was stepping into a role that has incredibly high expectations.

Just like women and minority groups must perform well above average to ensure parity of esteem, so does Scotland in the UK. We must consistently prove ourselves to the British establishment and the naysayers that we are good enough.

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We outperform the UK as a whole and individually over the other devolved nations in so many areas, but it’s never going be good enough for those who constantly put us down.

Humza Yousaf is somebody who will know and understand fully the dynamics of having to live up to incredibly high expectations as a minority ethnic person.

That is helpful to us in so many ways, including that his drive will match those expectations. He has no doubt always had to go further for longer to be taken seriously, that is unfortunately how we treat ethnic minorities, with these ridiculously high bar social “tests”. I see it all the time, and it’s became more apparent since his candidacy.

The racist tropes used about him have been utterly disgusting. I’m not opposed to people being scrutinised, particularly in public roles, but the level of racism and the sheer ignorance was astounding. Just to be clear, calling somebody lazy who clearly isn’t, who has had some of the hardest jobs in government and has been successful in many ways in those remits is racism.

The terminology is used by racists to smear ethnic minorities all the time – “lazy” or “useless”. The same people simultaneously blame immigrants for stealing all the jobs but then call them lazy in the same breath. Let’s just call it out for what it is. I hope over time that we truly look inward and analyse these behaviours. It’s well overdue.

It really is an evil that Humza has had to endure this racism, and I am sure there have been many times in his life that he faced worse, so with his position, I hope we can see a focus on tackling it. But it shouldn’t be down to him.

Education will be key here, and it’s going take a real effort on the part of white allies to call it out – it’s not enough to be bystanders, we must be active in a zero-tolerance approach. We saw the misogyny Nicola endured, and I fear that it has now flipped to racism toward Humza.

Humza has shown his resilience for many years, and he has maintained his drive to achieve Scottish independence through some incredibly hard times. He is a very dedicated person, as we have seen him demonstrate repeatedly, and he has the passion for the causes as an activist first and foremost.

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If we can get behind him, support him, and move with him, we will see such a swell and a momentum that will earn the trust and support of the electorate. Its time to unite the independence cause, call out bigotry and right-wing agendas, and focus on our goal. The progressive agenda is how we will win, I truly believe that.

Therefore I was delighted to see a focus on a health and wellbeing economy, including a dedicated Cabinet Secretary – this is something I am particularly passionate about. We must focus investment in our public services and spaces.

As we have seen over the last few years, when people are vulnerable, the NHS gets overburdened, our schools face mental health crises, learning is impeded, and our workforce gets burnt out.

Putting the country’s health and wellbeing first in turn supports a healthy, growing economy. People are nervous to do this as fiscal growth has always been the holy grail of economics, but we can’t just have growth for growth’s sake.

There’s a good example of this in Aberdeen city, with ten years of a Labour and Tory coalition council. They piled money into vanity projects to attract private investment, among other things costing the taxpayer tens of millions in loan repayments. If that money had been used to upkeep libraries, swimming pools, green spaces and preventative health care, can you imagine how much more resilient the city would have been through these last years of economic decline? They would have had a health and wellbeing buffer.

Investing in our people, and in our wellbeing, is exactly what we need. We must protect our population to see a healthy and vibrant economy – resilient people and resilient services will see a country that can thrive in all areas.

We have a great opportunity to build a country that is focused on health and wellbeing now – we don’t have to wait for independence, –and when we do that, our electorate will want more of it and be more convinced of the merits of independence to ensure it is protected from the wolves at the door who love economic growth for their own pocket-lining reasons.

Progress looks like compassion, and inclusive values in our social culture and our economics. I can’t wait to see this progressive government deliver.