The Scottish National Party (SNP) has launched its election manifesto with an appeal for "a new age of national optimism".
Mr Swinney stressed Scotland's potential
The manifesto for the Holyrood election includes commitments to reduce business rates, increase nurses' pay and cut primary class sizes.
The party appealed to the electorate to give it a chance to prove itself in government.
And it sought to reassure the public that a move to independence would only come with its permission.
Launching the SNP manifesto in Glasgow, party leader John Swinney described Scotland as a "blessed" country with more potential "than perhaps any other nation on earth".
He commended the manifesto as a "practical policy programme".
"I want to create a new spirit for Scotland - a new age of national
optimism," he said.
"An age in which we release the abundant potential in each and every one of
We will move onto independence only with your permission.
He emphasised his party's pledge of a referendum on independence.
"We will move onto independence only with your permission," he said.
The manifesto, entitled "The Case for a Better Scotland", came in the form
of a glossy brochure, and an accompanying CD-Rom which included video clips and a
message from Sir Sean Connery.
Mr Swinney pledged to create "the most competitive business rate regime in
the UK" by cutting business rates over the next four years.
He also wanted to create a "smaller and more democratic" government, reducing the number of ministers by a quarter and abolishing unnecessary tiers of "unelected, unaccountable public bodies".
A commitment to spend £46m on providing high speed broadband internet technology throughout Scotland was another manifesto pledge.
The SNP leader said his party would abolish Labour's private finance
initiative scheme, putting in its place a system of not-for-profit trusts to
build schools and hospitals.
He pledged to pay nurses in Scotland an extra 11%, additional to salaries
south of the border, set up a national beds review, devolve powers to local
healthcare organisations, and create an independent health inspectorate.
Nurses pay would be increased, the SNP said
The manifesto declares it to be the SNP's aim that by 2005, everyone will
receive hospital treatment within six months of diagnosis.
Mr Swinney also matched Labour's tough talking stance on law and order and yob
The manifesto pledges to put 1,000 more police officers on the streets.
Mr Swinney said that while too many people who should not be in jail were being
sent to prison, the converse was also true.
He said: "This is my message to the hooligans: if you deprive decent people of a
peaceful Saturday night, I will deprive you of your liberty on a Saturday
"The SNP will introduce weekend sentencing to take these thugs off our
He also emphasised the party's pledge to cut class sizes in the first three
years of primary school to 18 or fewer.