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    25 June, 2005

    Cardiff to Edinburgh

    Last week was exceptionally busy. Many early starts and late nights: too little sleep. Aside from a number of important constituency engagements, and two key debates in which I spoke in the Assembly Chamber, on the Queen's Speech and tuition fees, the Culture, Welsh Language and Sport Committee of the National Assembly visited the Scottish Parliament and a number of Scottish Arts organisations in Edinburgh.

    This is the foyer of the Scottish Parliament.

    This is the Chamber.

    A Committee Room.

    The distinctive external architecture.

    We arrived at a time when the Culture Commission had reported on the future of cultural organisation in Scotland, in a 540 page report. As was said in the Scottish Parliament Chamber when we were there, this might be regarded as recess reading rather than holiday reading! We met with the Convenor of the Culture Committee and other Culture Committee Members, with the Culture Minister, with the national Scottish dance organisation, Dancebase, (we are currently holding an inquiry into dance), with the National Museum and with the National Gallery. The latter had some of the Misses Davies collection of post-Impressionist pictures on display from the National Museum and Gallery in Cardiff (paid for of course from the profits made on Rhondda coal) - and we have some of their pictures down on display in Cardiff currently.

    The most valuable part of the discussions for me was understanding the differences of accountability of arts organisations in Scotand in relation to Ministers and the Scottish Parliament. We had a significant debate on this in Wales pre-Christmas, where I argued that the Arts Council should remain at arms-length from the Welsh Assembly Government. The arts organisations in Scotland do not get the same level of scrutiny from the Parliament as our Culture Committee gives arts organisations in Wales. We need to think through some of the issues this raises as we move to a legal separation of the legislative and executive parts of the Assembly from May 2007, following the new Government of Wales Bill.

    The Paolozzi sculptures in the Museum of Scotland, designed to hold ancient artefacts.

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.