Her position as leader confirmed Nicola addressed an audience in an auditorium packed to the gunnels with many thousands of members all fully committed to the cause of independence and expecting a rallying call to renew the fight for freedom from their leader. But they were to be disappointed.
She used her acceptance speech as First Minister to reassure her Unionist opponents her administration would be more than just a vehicle for constitutional campaigning. It would provide good government for all Scots always fully operating within the rules put in place by Westminster
She dwelled longest on her achievement of becoming the first woman to lead a Scottish Government. Her election showed “the sky’s the limit” for women and girls across the country, she told the audience before then saying:
“But it is what I do as First Minister that will matter more – much more – than the example I set by simply holding the office.”
Then, Looking up towards her niece Harriet, eight, in the gallery, she added:
“She doesn’t yet know about the gender pay gap or under-representation or the barriers, like high childcare costs, that make it so hard for so many women to work and pursue careers. My fervent hope is that she never will; that by the time she is a young woman, she will have no need to know about any of these issues because they will have been consigned to history. If, during my tenure as First Minister, I can play a part in making that so, for my niece and for every other little girl in this country, I will be very happy indeed.”
She had set her priorities for the future. The fight for independence was to be continued but within the limits of responsible governance. But her primary mission was to advance the cause of women.
What followed was a media frenzy in which Nicola was feted by women’s rights organisations worldwide including invitations to visit the USA and address female leaders and human rights activists the UN. She would become the new “Angela Merkel” and inspire women to a better future in politics and business.