Labour's defeat in Scotland was a political event of seismic proportions. The message of the defeat was that we had lost the trust of thousands of voters. It was not that they necessarily disliked what we were saying; but we had lost the right to be heard. If we want to be heard again, we need to regain their trust. I will work day and night to ensure that we do.
The prospect of billions of pounds worth of Parliament repairs, which have been dodged for decades and are now finally coming home to roost, is understandably being met with a chorus of boos. With the current Government determined to continue its austerity agenda, regardless of the final cost, it will not be easily stomached by the public and rightly so.
This Tuesday I will visit Brussels to deliver my first speech in the EU capital since becoming First Minister. At heart, my message will be a very simple one; namely that Scotland is a European nation and that my government sees our future as one of continued European Union membership. The importance of this message to our economy and future prosperity cannot be overstated. It will also be an important counterpoint to the message David Cameron is seeking to deliver in his round of shuttle diplomacy between European capitals, as he seeks to "renegotiate" the terms of the UK's EU membership in ways which remain obscure...
There is little prospect that, in the short term, Scottish Labour's core vote will return to it from the SNP. A tactical vote for the party, whilst it may be effective in a small collection of seats, will be as futile as expecting Darth Vader to oversee the construction of a Death Star without a fundamental design flaw.
Aside from a computer on the desk, my local betting shop has a traditional look, complete with newspaper racing pages sellotaped to the wooden walls, stubby pencils and drawn blinds. As I entered, a man with a lived-in face and an unlit roll-up cigarette protruding from the corner of his mouth was exchanging a slip of paper for some ten pound notes.
Salmond it seems, just cannot bear to be out of the political limelight. If I was Nicola Sturgeon, I'd be grinding my teeth in frustration... Poor Sturgeon has barely had a chance to stamp her authority on her massively enlarged and politically raw party before Salmond swung the narrative back onto him.
One in 50 of the Scottish population is now an SNP member, and that is remarkable, and was a figure unachievable before Eck took control again. The only way to change things politically is to take the battle into the streets, and that is why the SNP will win. All of us have a part to play at the GE next year, no matter how small or insignificant we think it is.
Ukip/Tory majority will lead to more right-wing policies, more crippling austerity, more needless deaths through benefit sanctions, more civil liberties being stripped away, and the countryside fracked for profit and greed. Scotland must not be submissive, and should stand up and be counted... Returning more SNP to Westminster next May is the only solution.
I think Nicola will achieve great things for Scotland, and continue the work that Eck started. She will be a constant thorn to Westminster and she will acquire powers by the strength of her persuasive arguments refusing to acquiesce and relentless demands. Seems like Nicola and the SNP are the only party capable of taking the fight to Farage and Ukip. It is a shame that Miliband doesn't have the same backbone.
I woke up strangely invigorated on Friday morning (on my sofa after one hour's sleep) because, as a longtime advocate of Devo Max for Scotland - which I would describe as self-governance in every area except fiscal policy, British Constitutional Politics, international diplomacy, international development, and national security - my fight had finally arrived.