When the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament were set up, there was a substantial gap in their powers in Scotland’s favour. The Welsh administration couldn’t pass primary legislation before last March’s referendum, and even the Assembly name was second-tier, akin to the second-tier devolution Scotland voted for in 1979.
And yet there are issues where this notionally weaker body has forged ahead of the Scottish Government. In 2000 a Lab/Lib Dem coalition banned GM crops, but two years later a Scottish Executive of the same colour ignored a vote at Lib Dem conference and went ahead with plantings.
Today sees the now Labour-only Welsh Government take another step ahead of Scotland with what looks potentially like a massive switch in transport policy in favour of walking and cycling, just as Scottish Ministers plan to head in the opposite direction by spending billions on duplicate road capacity.
As a supporter of independence I’d like to see Scottish Ministers flexing every muscle they have to improve this country using the powers devolved already: that’s the best way to demonstrate the need for the full powers of an independent nation. So why are Welsh Ministers better at doing that than Scottish ones?