I THINK we all know that we are in the midst of a leadership election in the SNP.

It is not my intention to be political in this column or indeed to endorse one candidate over the other two. I am not a member of the SNP, however, we all have an interest in this election as the winner will most likely be our next first minister.

The three candidates, Kate Forbes, Ash Regan and Humza Yousaf, have been taking part in hustings around the country.

At first, the SNP wanted the hustings to be for party members only, and to a certain extent I can understand why. Yet, if the winner of the election is to be our next first minister, I do think we all have a right to hear the debates. Fortunately the three candidates also wanted the hustings to be open to the media.

You will notice that I used the term “winner”. In all elections there are winners and losers. Politics by its nature is combative.

Yet when the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in May 1999, it was hoped that politics would be different. There was a hope that the voting system would prevent one party having an overall majority, obliging parties to work together for the greater good. The committee system is also designed to ensure collaborative cross-party working.

However, we have three candidates for first minister who are almost defining what they stand for over and against the stance of their opponents.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not so naïve as to think that all politicians should agree all the time, even within the same party.

However, I would like to see our politicians disagree with respect. By that I don’t mean responding to each other’s comments with the words, “with all due respect” which usually means there is no respect at all.

Recently in a primary school assembly we have been thinking about how we can listen to one another and share our differences kindly and respectfully, and if we disagree with someone to ask them why they share their opinions and ideas.

That is the kind of politics that I dream of, where we listen and listen well, where we debate and truly hear what other people are saying and yes, if appropriate, change our own minds.

And when we cannot agree, come to a consensus that takes the best of your ideas and mine and make them work for the greater good.