Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Parliament’

As we count down to next month’s referendum on changing the Assembly’s powers, we wanted to get a bit of context about the powers that Cardiff Bay already has and how they might change if there’s a yes vote on March 3rd.

Of course, Wales isn’t the only devolved part of the UK so I’ve been on a whistle-stop tour of the two other big devolved institutions: Scotland’s Parliament and Northern Ireland’s Assembly.

Both have come to devolution by different means and for different historical reasons, but its worthwhile looking at the powers they wield as we plan to make our decision.

It was interesting to talk to the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond as well as Northern Ireland’s First Minister and deputy First Minister, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness to get their perspectives on devolution.

Alex Salmond said to me,

It’s very seldom in history that when a country gets the ability to have even a small bit of self-determination, very seldom it’s turned down. Wise nations tend not to turn it down and Wales is a wise nation.

In Northern Ireland, they’re playing the long game and making a go of devolution despite overwhelming odds being stacked against it.

Even so, it’s remarkable how optimistic both Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness are about their experiences.

You can see the pictures I took here and here and you can see the film of my travels in tonight’s programme. There’ll be a flavour of them too in Wales Tonight at 6pm.

Back home, the two coalition parties in Cardiff Bay seem to be going through a rocky patch.

It centres on anonymous attacks by Labour figures on the Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones. He’s come out fighting, so does this mean the end of the One Wales coalition is in sight?

In one way it is, because there’s not much time between now and the Assembly election. Can we expect to see more of this?

Talking of tricky and tense relations, I’ve been interviewing the Secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan, at a time when relations between Westminster and Cardiff Bay seem more strained than ever.

The latest spat is over the Assembly’s refusal to co-operate with the UK Government’s plans to set up scrutiny panels for proposed elected police commissioners.

It may seem a bit obscure, but there are those who think the unprecedented move by AMs should make ministers in London think again about their plans.

I asked Cheryl Gillan about that and, on a lighter note, about what she thinks of Meryl Streep’s portrayal of an earlier leading female Conservative politician, Margaret Thatcher.

Not only will you find out that, but you will also find out who Mrs Gillan would like to play her in a film of her life. You’ll never guess so you’ll have to watch.

My guests are Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black, UKIP’s David J. Rowlands and the journalist Felicity Waters.

Join us for Sharp End at 1035pm, ITV1 Wales.





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View of Holyroodhouse from the STV office in the Scottish parliament

Scottish Parliament Chamber

Members' Corridor, Scottish Parliament

In the Black and White room which remembers the black and white corridor in the old parliament building

Paul the cameraman in action

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I’m in the middle of flying visits to the UK’s other two devolved nations as part of ITV Wales’ coverage of the build-up to March 3rd’s referendum on Assembly powers.

Self portrait in the debating chamber

I’m trying to find out how the powers the Assembly has or would have following a Yes vote next month compare with those enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland referendum.

To do that I’ve been in Holyrood all day, nosing around the Parliament building and asking visitors what they think about the institution, the politicians and what they’ve done or not done for Scotland.

The next stage of my journey has brought me to Belfast and tomorrow morning I’ll be doing a similar amount of nosing in Stormont.

As you can tell, this is a whistle-stop tour which is my excuse for avoiding a more detailed blog posting. You can see photos and updates by following me on Twitter or Facebook. Links on the right hand side of this page.

You can see the results of my Powers Trip on Thursday night in Wales Tonight and Sharp End.

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