Signed and sealed

  • Brian Taylor
  • 17 May 07, 06:29 AM

Yesterday afternoon I interviewed the first minister in St Andrews House. (For those still catching up, the new FM is one A. Salmond, the leader of the SNP).

I interviewed him in the FM's walnut-lined office suite. (I won't tell you which SNP assistant had to ask me where the FM's office was.)

As in the election, he was in emollient mood. Yes, he'll publish a White Paper on an independence referendum - but, yes, he understands the parliamentary arithmetic.

That means he won't attempt to legislate now. A wise choice: he'd lose.

Yes, he'll seek additional powers from London. But he won't demand.

A wise choice, again.

And now we have his Cabinet. Nicola Sturgeon at health, Fiona Hyslop at education, Kenny MacAskill at justice, Richard Lochhead at rural affairs - and John Swinney, Alex Salmond's successor and predecessor (Mr Salmond's been leader twice), at finance.

No place in the top team, for now, for Shona Robison or Fergus Ewing (both of whom had been variously tipped). But they are among the 10 deputies.

Today? These ministers have to be endorsed by parliament - and the new FM will attend the Court of Session to receive the Great Seal of Scotland.

Pinch yourselves, folks, the machinery of state is swinging into smooth action for a Nationalist leader.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 09:24 AM on 17 May 2007,
  • Clamjamfrie wrote:

It all seems to be progressing so smoothly. No one picking a fight. I still have a job. And no hangman's noose.

I thought Brian's reporting on the election of First Minister was excellent. Now we wait and see what transpires.

If the new government can show a bit of imagination in the next few months, and a willingness to enagage positively with parliament, who knows what journey we are now on? However, for the first time in my life, we seem to be creating an interesting body politic in Scotland. Are the politician's up for it?

  • 2.
  • At 10:35 AM on 17 May 2007,
  • Stevesco wrote:

Well lets see how long it takes the Labour UK Government to start meddling and making life difficult for the SNP leadership. Or am I being cynical by even suggesting they will do such a thing so they make the Independence party look baaaad !

  • 3.
  • At 10:50 AM on 17 May 2007,
  • Laurence wrote:

Even though I voted SNP, I have a slight uneasiness about the new administration -- but actually it's just a tinge of excitement. It really is a hugely refreshing change to see some new faces with a different take on the challenges facing Scotland, and I for one cannot wait to see how they manage.

  • 4.
  • At 11:08 AM on 17 May 2007,
  • Charlie wrote:

What's the story with the objections to Swinney and Lochead being appointed?

Is there a reason or is this just trouble making - a shot over the bow?

  • 5.
  • At 11:30 AM on 17 May 2007,
  • Yvonne Alexis wrote:

I'm really excited about us having an SNP administration, it's time for a different viewpoint on Scotland's future either within or without the UK, and it will hopefully bring about more meaningful debate about the issues facing our country. Exciting times ahead!

  • 6.
  • At 11:36 AM on 17 May 2007,
  • Medusa wrote:

I have my doubts about all this reorganising of the Civil Service. Looks like the SNP are setting them up to fail, thereby giving them an excuse to take the hatchet to them. I hear there'll be no meet and greets from the new DGs or Ministers either - so much for the party who care for the people of Scotland. Civil servants are people too!

  • 7.
  • At 12:18 PM on 17 May 2007,
  • Walter McLean wrote:

I think Brian meant" ebullient" not "emollient" or did he give Alex a rub down I think we should be told.

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