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Thursday, 29 November, 2001, 12:28 GMT
Scotland's first minister: What are the problems ahead?
Jack McConnell has been elected Scotland's first minister following a vote by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.

Speaking before the vote, Mr McConnell said he wants to improve public services including transport, jobs, education and health.

He said he wants to create more opportunities for young people and tackle crime.

The first minister also issued a pledge to improve the image of the Scottish Parliament after the damaging resignation of the previous first minister following controversy over expenses.

What do you want Jack McConnell to do for Scotland? What problems will he face? Has he got his priorities right or are there other issues which need to be addressed?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

I am so disappointed that something I voted for has become such a waste of money - I can't see anything concrete that has come of it. Now they are wasting our money debated about their title's First Minister, Presiding Officer. Who cares! Do something for the good of the country for a change
Lydia, UK

Give the man a chance and don't judge him by his past

Elena, England
For a start he should stick to one woman. Leaving jokes aside now, I think it can only get better. The education and health sectors have already improved. Give the man a chance and don't judge him by his past. Wait and you will see if he can deliver.
Elena, England

I am one of the ever growing band of Scots who now regret their Yes-Yes vote in the referendum which brought the Scottish parliament to life. It is obvious that it is now being exclusively run by and for the corrupt, nepotistic Scottish Labour Party. McConnell is just another nasty little Labour apparatchik who has reached this position because he poses absolutely no threat (politically or intellectually) to the Labour heirarchy in London. He is a glorified Lord mayor, who will do as he is told by his masters in London for the benefit of the Party.
Paul C, London

Gratified to read the enlightened comments by Jon Cooper. It makes me very happy to know that in my lifetime Scotland will be an independent country where we won't "give a monkey's" about your wee pretendy Parliament in London.
Irene D, Scotland

I have yet to meet anyone who thinks the Welsh assembly or Scottish parliament are anything other than a complete waste of time and money. No-one down here gives a monkey's about it, and I suspect people in Wales and Scotland are less than enamoured too. They seem to be just glorified councils, another tier of incompetence and waste.
Jon Cooper, England

Can Scotland really trust this man?

George McDade, Canada
Can Scotland really trust this man? I certainly wouldn't because of his past history. It is the private lives of politicians that seem to let them down. He is sure to fail and Scotland will be in the same hole again.
George McDade, Canada

Judging by his performance as Labour General Secretary and then as Finance and Education Ministers, I've no reason to believe Jack will be anything less than a highly competent and successful First Minister.
Stuart Kelly, Scotland

As a Scots ex-pat it is my hope that Mr McConnell can improve Scotland's dismal political image abroad. Judging by his initial performance I suspect this is a forlorn hope.
Douglas Mathieson, USA

We're all watching you Jack...better shape up or ship out.
Fiona Middler, Scotland

Jack McConnell has the ability to become our finest First Minister. I have little doubt he will succeed where others have failed. He is a stronger leader, he appears to have a clear vision of a new Scotland - Jack seems to believe in the Scottish People - I just hope we believe in ourselves enough to meet his expectations!
David Wallace, UK

The simplest thing would have been for Jim Wallace to have been left as First Minister. He has spent more time in the job than any Labour Leader so far and he has made a good job of it too.
Jennifer Wilkie, UK

Like Bill Clinton, yet another adulterous politician takes office. Alas, the Americanisation of British politics continues.
John McVey, Scotland

McConnell is just another Blair puppet

Andy, Scotland
My message to Mr McConnell is to work towards getting rid of Trident and the horror of potential holocaust sitting on our doorstep. I know defence is the ultimate responsibility of Westminster and if they're so keen to have it why not transfer the subs to the Thames instead of the Clyde? Would our political friends in England be happy if it was at their back door?

Of course I'm dreaming, as McConnell is just another Blair puppet.
Andy, Scotland

Despite his mistakes and persona, I think McConnell is a highly effective politician and could well confound his critics. Despite the difficulties the coalition has made significant improvements in Education and Health policy, which have embarrassed the Labour party at Westminster. I hope Jack can carry on in this vein, but if I were him the first thing I'd do would be to smash the labour mafia which monopolises local government in the central belt by introducing PR. This has gone on for far too long.
Gail, Scotland

He has three choices: Scotland, devolution or Labour

Mac, Scotland
McConnell has only 18 months to make his mark before the next election. He has three choices: Scotland, devolution or Labour. He'll choose his party and spend the next year-and-half, and a good bit of public money, in getting Labour re-elected.
Mac, Scotland

Very simple - call an election and give everyone who was duped into thinking the new Scottish parliament would not be run like a corrupt Labour council another chance to elect a proper alternative. Or we may choose to cast no vote, and therefore pass judgement on the sad joke this whole jobs for the boys (and girl councillors) farce has become.
Alan Slevin, Scotland

R Farmer, Scotland

Mr Thornber is wrong about the tourist being arrested for smacking his child. In actual fact the child was being punched and kicked. Scotland will not tolerate such abuse even if he does. Jack McConnell deserves a chance, as a teacher I have nothing but praise for his handling of education. I believe he will do the best job for Scotland.
R Horsburgh, Edinburgh

My message to Jack McConnell is simple. Stop all PC rubbish coming out of your executive - scrapping clause 28, abolishing parental rights to bring up children as they see fit (even to the extent of arresting holidaymakers) to name but two prime examples. Stop messing about at the corners and start doing some real work. I doubt very much whether any of the above legislation was in people's minds when they voted for your administration. Show the world that you are not just a bunch of puppies rolling over for the PC pressure groups.
Edwin Thornber, UK

I take issue with Mr Thornber describing the scrapping of clause 28 as "PC rubbish". Clause 28 was a beastly piece of legislation, institutionalising bigotry and hate. My message to Mr McConnell would be for more, similarly enlightened policies.
Robert Scarth, London

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