Glasgow 2014: Praise heaped on 'best Games ever'

Frank Baines of Scotland performs on the parallel bars during the men's gymnastics team final Flying high: Scotland's athletes won 53 medals during the Commonwealth Games

The people of Glasgow, as well as volunteers, crowds and athletes, have drawn widespread praise after a "fantastic" Commonwealth Games.

Team Scotland's boss said Scottish athletes had exceeded expectations and "galvanised the country".

There was also praise from First Minister Alex Salmond for those who had helped to deliver the "best and friendliest Commonwealth Games ever".

Their comments came as Games organisers prepared for Sunday's closing ceremony.

Mr Salmond said tens of thousands of visitors had been made to feel at home during the Commonwealth Games, with Scotland extending "the warmest of welcomes".

Writing in the Sunday Herald, Mr Salmond said everything about the Games had been a huge credit to the city and to Scotland.

MADNESS, MAYHEM AND MAGIC

The memories will live with me for a very long time.

There were questions in the build up to these Games, many of which couldn't be answered until they were under way. The venues were all built or refurbished and they had been tried and successfully tested - but was Glasgow ready in other aspects?

How would the city cope with a massive influx of people - would the transport plans put in place be sufficient, what about security and what if we had a typical Scottish downpour of a summer?

On the whole - we needn't have worried!

I loved how Glasgow embraced the Games and welcomed strangers in to the city with open arms. The friendly Games, right enough!

And what about Team Scotland? Gutsy, unexpected, glorious - resulting in Scotland's most successful Games ever. The pre-games medal target of 34 - blown out of the water.

It's impossible to select one special moment.

That swim by Ross Murdoch and the look of sheer bewilderment on his face, the judo team sweeping the boards or Lynsey Sharp's silver after illness nearly floored her.

The list goes on - the achievements of gymnasts Daniels Keatings and Purvis, Eilidh Child delighting the Hampden crowd and Charlie Flynn's boxing success - not to mention his wonderful after-bout TV interview on the BBC!

I've been privileged to be in the thick of it, and albeit I'm slightly lacking in the sleep department, I've loved every moment.

I'll be honest there have been nervy times, as there always are when involved in live broadcasting - just ask Daniel Purvis.

After his gold medal win I was to interview him live on Reporting Scotland, we were top story, but with 5 seconds to go before we were on no-one could hear us back at base. But the technical gods were smiling and we made it!

One final thought - the thousands of spectators that filled venue after venue for the duration of the Games. They were knowledgeable, enthusiastic and brilliantly vocal. I have no doubt they helped Scotland to that historic medal haul.

I shall miss the madness and the mayhem and the magic of these Games.

He described Scottish athletes - who are celebrating a record haul of more than 50 medals - as "fantastic".

"Hearing the national anthem in venues across the city has been hugely inspiring and emotional, and we have celebrated every medal as if it was the most important one," he said.

"But, we aren't just celebrating our medal winners; every single member of Team Scotland has been incredible and their performances have done Scotland proud."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who was in Edinburgh visiting the Murrayfield Wanderers rugby ground, said: "On the last weekend of the Commonwealth Games it's a great weekend to celebrate sport, and how sport brings people together.

"It's been a very proud moment for Glasgow, for Scotland and indeed for the United Kingdom that the Commonwealth Games have gone so successfully. They have really been a wonderful festival of outstanding sport."

The leaders of some of the teams competing praised the planning behind the Games and the welcome they had received.

England chef de mission Jan Paterson said it had been a "fantastic experience" throughout.

She added: "Every single member of Team England has received the warmest of welcomes from the moment they arrived in Glasgow to their event finishing and that has made these Games so very special.

"We would like to publicly say thank you to the volunteers, fans in the stadium and the people of Glasgow who have played such a pivotal role in making these Games a success and so enjoyable for us."

Team Scotland chef de mission Jon Doig said Scottish athletes had "delivered for Scotland and themselves, their families and local communities".

Mr Doig said: "I couldn't be more pleased, they've been a fantastic group of people to work with and have bonded together so well.

"We had a team camp and I could see in the sea of 300 people the determination, excitement in the minds of these athletes.

"I could see at that stage we were going to be delivering something special, and they really have.

"I don't think they quite know how they have galvanised the country, but they will find out over the next week and month."

road race The road race through the city centre was one of the last events at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

Mr Doig added: "This is no accident, this success. The support structure has been put in place in the last eight to 10 years to allow the athletes to do what they've been doing.

"There's also a change in attitude - there are people coming out knowing they can succeed at world level, they can take on the world's best and perform."

The chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, Michael Cavanagh, praised the athletes, supporters and workforce for making the Games such as success.

He said: "We'd like to thank everyone who's been involved but in particular the people of Glasgow, the people of Scotland, the 15,000 Clydesiders who have made that warm welcome that we have been hoping for just come to life, and of course a fantastic workforce, with the organising committee and the partnerships that have really delivered on the day.

"And, of course, the athletes - they have just come to the house and brought it down, so to speak."

David Grevemberg, chief executive of Glasgow 2014 said it was "a day for thank yous".

He praised the athletes, the workforce, those involved in organising the games, sponsors, the media and the baton bearers who took part in the Queen's Baton Relay.

He added: "A massive thank you goes to the people of Glasgow who embraced the Games and welcomed all athletes and visitors with sensational support, smiles and… selfies."

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  13.  
    09:39: SNP disappointed over no job creating powers

    John Swinney, speaking on the BBC News Channel, said: "There are many aspects of this report which are welcome, which strengthen the powers of the Scottish parliament and give us the ability to tackle some of the issues that affect our citizens.

    "But what civic Scotland aspired for was the job creating powers that could transform our economy in Scotland, and control over the welfare system, over the minimum wage, over the things that would enable us to tackle the in-work poverty which is a central economic problem we face today and unfortunately we don't have those powers."

     
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  15.  
    09:37: What next?

    Lord Smith's recommendations, known as a Heads of Agreement, will form the basis of draft legislation due to be published by 25 January.

    The main parties at Westminster have pledged that the legislation will be taken forward regardless of the outcome of the general election in May.

     
  16.  
    Breaking News

    Key recommendations....

    • Power to set rates and bands on earned income and retain all income tax raised in Scotland.
    • Sixteen and 17-year-olds to vote in Scottish elections.
    • Powers to create new benefits in devolved areas and make discretionary payments in any area of welfare.
    • Holyrood should have a share of VAT.
    • And Air Passenger Duty should be fully devolved.
     
  17.  
    09:35: Lib Dem view David Porter Westminster correspondent

    Liberal Democrat sources have welcomed the findings of the Smith Commission to give more powers to Holyrood as a "quality and substantive piece of work".

    The party says the proposals go further than the vow delivered by the three unionist party leaders just before September's referendum and, in effect, create a Scottish welfare system.

    Lib Dem sources say they believe other parties in the Smith Commission have moved stewards their line on a number of issues.

     
  18.  
    09:31: Spin begins

    And with that the conference is over, and politicians from all five parties make their way towards the assembled media to give their take on the proposals.

     
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    Maggie Chapman - Greens

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    Michael Moore

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  26.  
    09:25: 'Exciting future'

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  27.  
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    09:21: Iain Gray

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  34.  
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  36.  
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  37.  
    09:13: Public opinion

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  42.  
    09:09: Benefits

    The Scottish Parliament will be given powers to create new benefits in devolved areas and make discretionary payments in any area of welfare. Also a range of other benefits that support older people, carers, disabled people and those who are ill will be fully devolved.

    Lord Smith addressing conference
     
  43.  
    09:08: Income tax

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  44.  
    09:07: Holyrood accountability

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  45.  
    09:06: Historic agreement?

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  46.  
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  47.  
    09:05: Here we go..

    The press conference on the Smith Commission has begun at the National Museum of Scotland.

    Lord Kelvin at Smith Commission conference
     
  48.  
    09:03: What's inside?

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  49.  
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  50.  
    08:52: 10 minutes to go...

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    Press setting up for Smith Commission

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  51.  
    08:45: Income tax

    Professor Richard Kerley, Chair of the Centre of Scottish Public policy, told Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland what would happen if the Scottish Parliament gets full control over income tax rates and bands.

    He said: "How it would work in practice is to build on the arrangements that are currently being put in place under the 2012 act for the Scottish Parliament to levy a proportion of income tax within Scotland. Whether that would be exercised through HMRC is clearly still to be determined.

    "In effect, if what we are being told is the entry point for income tax - that is the personal allowance - retains a UK-wide level, then over and above that it would be up to the Scottish Parliament to recommend the rate in the pound of income tax and the bands at which income tax is levied."

     
  52.  
    08:29: Analysis - Douglas Fraser

    'The Scottish Parliament has had 15 years of spending power with very little taxation accountability.

    Scottish money

    'That's about to change, a lot, if the Smith Commission "heads of agreement" translate into workable new devolution legislation.

    'There is a political case for such radical changes.'

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  53.  
    08:23: Who is Lord Smith?

    His name may be familiar to you after the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, as he served as chairman of the organising committee.

    Lord Smith of Kelvin

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    Find out more about him.

     
  54.  
    08:18: Who was on the Commission?

    Ten people - two representatives each from the SNP, Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens - made up the Smith Commission.

    Lord Smith commission panel

    Find out who they were.

     
  55.  
    08:14: What is the commission?

    The recommendations of the Smith commission, chaired by Lord Smith of Kelvin, are to form the basis of UK government legislation on more Scottish powers although they would not be delivered until after the Westminster election in May 2015.

     
  56.  
    08:08: Analysis - What powers will Holyrood get? Glenn Campbell BBC Scotland news

    The Smith commission on further devolution has concluded its talks with the five political parties represented in the Scottish Parliament. They have reached agreement on a package of additional powers, which is to be announced in Edinburgh on Thursday.

    The commission's recommendations are expected to include:

    • the full devolution of income tax rates and bands, with the personal allowance (the threshold above which tax is paid) continuing to be set by the UK government
    • assigning a proportion of the VAT revenues raised in Scotland to the Scottish budget
    • giving Holyrood control of air passenger duty and - eventually - the aggregates tax
    • devolving welfare measures including attendance allowance, carers' allowance and some cold weather payments
    • retaining UK control of all the benefits being merged into universal credit, while introducing some devolved flexibility over aspects such as the frequency of payments
    • devolving the work programme
    • putting Holyrood in charge of its own elections, which could allow MSPs to give 16 and 17 year olds a vote in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election
     
  57.  
    08:04: Smith Commission

    The BBC understands the commission on devolving powers to the Scottish Parliament is to recommend it has full control over income tax rates and bands.

    Scottish Parliament

    The report is not expected to call for personal allowances - the threshold at which tax is paid - to be devolved.

    The Smith Commission, which was set up after the "No" vote in the independence referendum, reached an agreement at its final meeting in Edinburgh and its full report will be published on Thursday morning.

     
  58.  
    08:01: Good morning Graham Fraser BBC Scotland

    Good morning, and welcome to our live coverage of the Smith Commission.

     

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