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Gavin Greig [userpic]

BBC News Usability (UK)

September 28th, 2006 (02:08 pm)
current location: DD4 9FF

I got slightly frustrated trying to determine whether a news story on the BBC web site about a change in the law applied to the UK as a whole or just to England (and therefore not Scotland, where I live).

This is a common problem with a largely London-centric media, to the extent that a recent poll found that only 27% of Scots believe Holyrood has more influence on the way Scotland is run than Westminster does. In fact, Holyrood has control over all matters not explicitly reserved to Westminster. While that's a fair way from independence, it means Holyrood actually has a pretty big say in how things work up here. However, it's not all the media's fault: the picture is further muddied by the fact that the same political party is in power at both the Scottish and UK levels, and by the unexpectedly frequent use of Sewel motions (translation: the UK parliament's had a good idea, let's just allow it to apply in Scotland too).

Anyway, I suggested to the BBC that it would be useful to have a web control on news pages that indicates, without taking up a lot of screen real estate, which parts of the UK a story applies to. Their reply sounded surprisingly positive, so if it appears at some point in the future, think kindly of me.


Posted by: silverwhistle (silverwhistle)
Posted at: September 28th, 2006 02:21 pm (UTC)

Yes, it would be good if they clarified these matters rather more!

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: September 28th, 2006 11:01 pm (UTC)
Crazy or smart?

it is all, indeed, the fault of the English

Can I quote you on that? :-)

Posted by: myceliumme (myceliumme)
Posted at: October 1st, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC)

Holyrood has control over all matters not explicitly reserved to Westminster
Er, according to the Scottish Executive, 'The Westminster Parliament is sovereign and ... has undiminished power to make laws for Scotland as well as all other parts of the United Kingdom. However ... the UK Government has agreed that there are 3 categories of provision that should not normally be enacted in primary legislation at Westminster unless the Scottish Parliament has given its consent.' (my emphasis)

So Westminster can take its ball back any time it likes.

the same political party is in power at both the Scottish and UK levels
I await with interest (and no small fear of political 'point-scoring') a time when this is not the case. I wonder how long it will before the Westminster government gets annoyed with Holyrood's temerity to act against Westminster's wishes (or Scotland's temerity to elect the 'wrong' party) and amends the Scotland Act accordingly.

BTW, thank you for the prod to educate myself about the legislation. I had thought that Scotland had full control over non-reserved matters. The fact that it doesn't (and that this wasn't made common knowledge) pushes me a little more towards supporting independence, just so long as I don't get kicked out of my current abode in Auld Reekie for daring to have been born south of the border or forced to speak Scots. And I agree it would be nicer to be told what laws, etc apply where without having to dig so I hope your suggestion bears fruit.

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