A family affair

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Image caption Nicola Sturgeon's family was at Holyrood to see Ms Sturgeon become first minister

In office as first minister, Nicola Sturgeon will not be short of advice.

From the civil service, from her colleagues, from the public, from her friends and family. She noted that she would be happy to draw on the well of expertise that is her predecessor, Alex Salmond.

But she was offered one more source of inspiration today.

Ruth Davidson - who contested the post in Holyrood - suggested that Ms Sturgeon might draw upon the career of another powerful woman who led a government. Margaret Hilda Thatcher.

It is unlikely Ms Davidson truly expected this advice to be heeded.

The Scottish Tory leader had opened her electoral address in this particular contest by noting that she was "realistic" about her chances of becoming FM. (For now, as she added.) Her intent was to stimulate debate.

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In any event, Ms Sturgeon declined to adopt this particular role model. But she did have another Tory in mind.

One Florence Horsbrugh, the former Scottish Unionist member for Dundee who was the first woman to respond to the Kings Speech in the Commons.

Ms Sturgeon drily recalled the bold Florence had astutely discounted the potential reaction to her speech in advance by noting that, as the first female to undertake the task, she was guaranteed a place in history, whatever she said.

Both politicians, I feel certain, were deploying the skill of self-deprecation. Certainly, Ms Sturgeon voiced the hope that she might earn a fraction more in the way of public and political approbation.

The new first minister's speech was deftly constructed and delivered. There was little in the way of towering rhetoric. I suspect that Ms Sturgeon calculates that the people of Scotland are in a mood for solid, grounded politics.

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Image caption Alex Salmond looked on as Ms Sturgeon got his old job

However, there was an uplifting message on the topic of gender balance. The new first minister voiced the ambition that her election might send a message of hope to Scotland's women and girls.

She referred to her niece Harriet, aged eight, who was in the VIP gallery along with other members of the FM's family.

Nicola Sturgeon expressed the hope that - by the time Harriet had grown up - it would not be thought at all remarkable that a woman might lead a government. Young Harriet, a keen dancer, nodded sagely.

It was, mostly, then a day to voice congratulation. But each of the opposition leaders also contained messages as to the issues they will raise in the period ahead.

Jackie Bailie for Labour talked of the living wage. Ruth Davidson for the Tories suggested public sector reform. Willie Rennie of the Lib Dems urged changes to justice policy.

Patrick Harvie of the Greens wanted action on unconventional gas extraction and the transatlantic trade and investment partnership.

More on all of those. Much more on the allocation of public spending. New powers for the Scottish Parliament.

More, much. Accepting the seal of office. Appointing her cabinet. Setting out her programme for government. Responding to the Smith Commission.

For today though, a family affair.