If the Assembly and Holyrood Were Children of Eight, Rather Than Eight-Year-Old Legislative Bodies, They'd Probably Have Asbos by Now

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tomos Livingstone Westen Mail

THE results of elections in Wales and Scotland will have reverberations in Westminsters corridors of power this morning.

For all the disdain you sometimes hear at Westminster for the work of the Assembly and the Scottish parliament, devolution has developed a nasty habit of tripping up London politicians who pretend not to be interested.

In fact, if the Assembly and Holyrood were a pair of eight-year-old children, rather than eight-year old legislative bodies, theyd probably have Asbos by now for harassing the adults.

Tony Blair was caught out by his decision to endorse Alun Michael as the Assemblys first leader, and now it looks like Gordon Browns first few months in charge will involve dealing with a Scottish Parliament stuffed with SNP members.

But Blair and Brown arent the only ones with cause to be concerned.

David Cameron has tried to portray yesterdays elections as a referendum on Labours decade in office, and even some commentators dubbed the Scottish, Welsh and English council votes Super Thursday.

Mr Cameron has said this was the publics last chance to vote against Tony Blair and the first chance to vote against Gordon Brown. He wanted voters to give Tony Blair a bloody nose in his final elections before he quits as Prime Minister.

But the ballots for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and local councils in England and Scotland will also be a tough test for Conservative leader Mr Cameron, who must show that his partys much-vaunted revival stretches outside the south east into areas that have been virtual Tory-free zones since 1997.

Wales is the most likely PR coup for Mr Cameron this morning, with signs that, even if the share of the vote is not going up a great deal, the party can at least win first-past-the-post constituency seats.

Mr Camerons other problem is that, if there is no large swing to his party overall and they already hold more council seats in England than Labour it will raise some awkward questions. After 18 months of party reforms and an unpopular Government in charge in Westminster, Mr Camerons critics may well ask if not now, when?

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell needs some sign of progress to reassure his own internal party critics that he is the man to take them into the next general election. …