NICOLA Sturgeon will today urge the people of Scotland to trust her to do the best for their families when she makes a highly personal plea for their votes next year.
The First Minister will put her character at the heart of the Holyrood election campaign by arguing she has the ambition and leadership qualities to take Scotland forward.
When she stands up to address the largest SNP conference in history, Ms Sturgeon will give a presidential-style address promising to serve Scotland with imagination, courage, humility and to the best of her ability.
As she attempts to capitalise on her popularity, Ms Sturgeon will also announce a £200 million drive to give elderly patients the hip replacements, knee operations and cataract operations they require.
A network of treatment centres will be formed at the Golden Jubilee Hospital, St John’s in Livingston, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital, Raigmore in Inverness and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
“Something I hear time and again from my older constituents is how a hip or knee replacement or a cataract operation has given them a new lease of life...
“But as more people live longer into old age more and more of these operations will need to be done.
“If we don’t prepare now for 10 and 20 years ahead our NHS will be overwhelmed by the demand,” she will say.
But Ms Sturgeon will argue that next May’s poll is about more than policies as she attempts to present herself as one of the most powerful weapons in the SNP’s election armoury.
“As we prepare to seek re-election, I won’t pretend that we are perfect or that I am perfect,” the First Minister will say. “We will always strive to be the best that we can be.
“And we will serve this country with imagination, courage, humility and always to the very best of our abilities.
“It’s about who you trust most - as your government and your First Minister - to provide the experience, the leadership, the ambition, the character and the unity of purpose to lead this country forward with confidence,” she will say.
“To the people of Scotland I ask this. Trust us - trust me - to always do the best for you, for your family and for your community.”
Ms Sturgeon’s speech will also underline the SNP’s opposition to UK airstrikes on Syria. And she will condemn the “parochialism and xenophobia” of Ukip arguing that faced with the Syrian crisis countries need to work together.
Emphasising the SNP’s commitment to remaining in the European Union, she will say: “At a time when sovereign countries need to work together to resolve issues of such magnitude, the prospect of UK withdrawal from the EU seems even more misguided.
“We despair at the failure of leadership of a Prime Minister pandering to eurosceptics in his party, but unable to articulate clearly and precisely what he is seeking to renegotiate.
“David Cameron might play fast and loose with our place in Europe. But be in no doubt the SNP will campaign positively for Scotland and the UK to stay in the European Union.”
Ms Sturgeon’s speech will follow an attempt yesterday by the Finance Secretary John Swinney to promote the SNP as the only party that can be trusted with the economy.
Mr Swinney announced new powers to give councils the ability to reduce business rates in their area in two weeks time.
Mr Swinney announced that the Fergusson Yard on the Clyde had been given the contract to build two new Caledonian MacBrayne ferries, plans to upgrade the Aberdeen Inverness railway and a £400 million investment to increase superfast broadband coverage to 95 per cent of Scotland.