The First Minister has deliberately gone for continuity in his cabinet nominations, and given the SNP's electoral success it is difficult to blame him.

One aspect at least has come under scrutiny and that is the new law officer appointments, both from within the ranks of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. Until Elish Angiolini's elevation to Solicitor General under the Labour-Liberal Democrat executive, such appointments were always from the independent bar, and the argument, voiced particularly by Professor Robert Black of Edinburgh University, is that independent scrutiny of the organisation is needed from the top if necessary changes in the way it is run are to be brought about.

Constitutional considerations aside, in practice any organisation is likely to benefit from a fresh pair of eyes coming in with a mandate to subject it to critical scrutiny. Equally however it would be wrong to suggest that COPFS has failed to change under the internal regime, if we can call it that, given the major changes in practice needed to take account of disclosure requirements, or in relation to investigation and prosecution of sex offences, or the establishment of other specialist units, for example.

Personally it seems to me that government in Scotland generally has much room for improvement still when it comes to openness and accountability. One could cite the Shirley McKie case or the contaminated blood products saga as evidence that it is at least as adept at closing ranks and stonewalling critical investigations as any elsewhere. Its smaller scale may actually make this easier rather than more difficult. 

Nor is it obvious that in relation to the Lockerbie case, in which Professor Black is particularly interested, there has been any significant change of approach since Colin (Lord) Boyd's time as Lord Advocate, during which the trial and initial appeal were both conducted.

Further, it is significant that the Government has now indicated that it will carry through the First Minister's promise some months ago to legislate so that material collected by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission during its investigation into the Lockerbie conviction may be published notwithstanding objections. What happens once that comes about will be a better test of its commitment to openness than the background of its law officers.

The new Government has the chance to use its one-party majority to turn over a new leaf, or to rebuff unwanted scrutiny. To win the trust of the people it needs to choose the former course.