LAST week, I was delighted to welcome Rishi Sunak as the new prime minister of the United Kingdom.

No doubt, our country is facing difficult times, and there will be many difficult decisions to be made in the coming years.

But Mr Sunak does not shy away from any of this, and is determined to make the right decisions to protect our economy, deliver sustainable growth, and to govern in the national interest.

Sadly, however, there is a sharp contrast between the type of leadership the UK Government is embarking upon, and the same old tired, divisive rhetoric we are continuing to see from the SNP Government here in Scotland.

While the prime minister has made his priorities for the coming years completely clear, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also did this recently when she launched yet another policy paper on Scottish independence. While Rishi Sunak is determined to unite our country through leadership in the national interest, Nicola Sturgeon seems determined to divide us all over again.

But despite having had many attempts at producing a coherent paper on the economics of an independent Scotland, it is clear that even the most dedicated supporters of Scottish independence will have been disappointed by the half-hearted, vague wish list – dressed up as a proper White Paper – that the SNP launched earlier this month.

The questions that this paper fails to address are too numerous to be listed. But even major issues concerning borders, currency, and public spending and not properly dealt with.

To take currency as one example, the paper suggests that an independent Scotland would continue to use Sterling, before moving to a new Scottish currency as soon as 'practicable'. But despite this being one of the key issues concerning independence, this is all the detail we're given, and it appears the SNP's real plan on this issue is to plough on regardless and hope that things don't end in disaster.

But last week, the SNP were dealt yet another blow on this issue when Brussels confirmed that an independent Scotland would need to commit to using the Euro as its currency if it is to have any hope of re-joining the EU – something which the SNP's policy paper fails to mention.

Nicola Sturgeon was repeatedly challenged over this last week at First Minister's Questions, and as usual, the First Minister had no answers.

This was just another example of the same predictable pattern when it comes to SNP policy announcements: no answers, no plan, and no credibility.

It is clear that Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP Scottish Government, intend to spend the coming years fixated on independence at all costs; seemingly deaf to the real issues that the Scottish public are crying out for urgent action on.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak and the UK Government will be getting to work on the real priorities of the people of Scotland – and of the whole United Kingdom.

I have the utmost confidence in the prime minister's ability to do this, and I wish him and his government well.

I also wish, however, that the first minister here in Scotland would follow his lead in this respect.