Signed and sealed
- 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.
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