26/01/2012 Dragon's Eye


26/01/2012

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It has received millions of pounds of public money. It has already

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been the subject of two government reviews. Now fresh allegations of

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financial irregularities and nepotism have left an organisation

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that is supposed to support some of Wales' most hundred represents to

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to read it is in crisis. And here in Edinburgh, a momentous week in

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Scottish politics, but what does it mean for Wales? This is Dragon's

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Good evening. The Welsh government has suspended its funding of the at

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All Wales Ethnic Minority Association, known as AWEMA,

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pending an investigation into Iraq allegations of financial corruption

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and nepotism. A highly critical report recommended that AWEMA's

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chief executive officer, Naz Malik, and his daughter, Tegwen Malik,

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should be suspended immediately pending a disciplinary inquiry.

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When the chair, Rita Austin, failed to implement the recommendations,

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seven out of the nine trustees resigned. It is nine years since

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Dragon's Eye first reported on concerns about management practices

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at AWEMA, which Mr Malik has led since 2001. They have already been

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two previous Welsh government reviews. Arwyn Jones reports.

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Its job is to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the

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public. It is supposed to help develop the skills and abilities of

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Wales' diverse communities. It should raise awareness of

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discrimination and promote racial harmony. But our investigations

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found very little harmony at the All Wales Ethnic Minority

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Association, or AWEMA. It is the largest organisation of its kind in

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Wales, handling nearly �8.5 million of public money. Following a number

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of complaints against the chief executive of AWEMA, Naz Malik, a

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report was commissioned to to look at allegations of financial

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irregularities. The report, seen by Dragon's Eye, which is -- reaches

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several critical conclusions. Commissioned by the trustees, it

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claims that Naz Malik used Crewe funds in an inappropriate way

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including paying off his credit card debts worth over �9,000 --

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AWEMA funds. But he has increased his own benefit package without due

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openers for transparency, this includes his salary being increased

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to over �65,000 without approval from the charity's board. And that

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Mr Malik has authorised an appropriate payments, expenses and

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purchases which may constitute gross misconduct, and that Naz

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Malik's daughter, Tegwen Malik, had been employed and promoted on a

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number of occasions without any internal or external competition.

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The report shows Tegwen Malik's salary increased from �20,000 in

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January 2008, to �50,000 in August 2011. The report recommended that

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both Naz Malik and his daughter should be suspended immediately

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pending a disciplinary inquiry and hearing. That has not happened. It

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is understood the newly appointed chairman of AWEMA, Rita Austin,

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decided on a written and verbal warning instead -- verbal warning

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instead. Following that decision, seven of the nine trustees have

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resigned. Both Naz Malik and Tegwen Malik remain in post. This is the

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man who wrote the report. He doesn't want to discuss the details

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but is unhappy that his recommendations were not

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implemented. I recommended that a number of procedural steps should

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be taken, which would allow time for investigations to be held about

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a range of allegations that were made by a variety of people. I

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thought that was really, really important. My understanding is that

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has not happened and that the people who are running the

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organisation, both in terms of the border and in terms of management,

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have not in my view would be quickly followed through on the

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recommendations that I made -- Broad dashboard. They have taken

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several measures but I understand it they are measures which would

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not be viewed by many. The matter has reached the floor of the Senedd.

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Can I ask you once more in terms of a statement as the situation as

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regards AWEMA and the investigation that is taking place in to that

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organisation. Dragon's Eye can reveal that the Welsh government,

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the Big Lottery Fund and the Wales European funding Office have

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suspended their grants AWEMA pending further investigations. In

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total more than �3 million is being held back and the authorities are

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liaising with South Wales Police. This is not the first time the

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Welsh government has had to investigate the dealings of the All

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Wales Ethnic Minority Association. Nearly a decade ago Dragon's Eye

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looked into the matter after allegations of serious

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mismanagement. A Welsh government report at the time found there were

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serious weaknesses in the financial systems and expenses procedures of

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the organisation. The chief executive then, as now, was Naz

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Malik, so some people are asking what has been happening between

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then and now. If there has been a cover-up and if people have allowed

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him to stay in post when more than one inquiry has said that there are

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serious questions and serious concerns about his ability to run

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the organisation and the transparent -- in a transparent and

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accountable way, but there we must know why that has happened and who

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has decided that he should be allowed to remain in post.

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south-east Wales regional equality council does not accept money from

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AWEMA but many similar organisations do. If the funding

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for AWEMA has been frozen, other organisations would suffer as well.

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They ran a number of stakeholders in this organisation including

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partners in terms of European funding, very important projects

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which are under way to help young people particularly and paint are

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not only having to cope with this doubt but now they have had their

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funding suspended those projects are in jeopardy and that if

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anything underlines by this needs to be resolved as soon as possible

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and why the Welsh government and the other people involved in this

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investigation needs to bring this to a conclusion as soon as possible

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so we can decide finally what the fate of those individuals are.

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have tried to speak to him at Naz Malik this morning but had not been

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able to get hold of him. I spoke to him last night on the phone and he

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said it would not be appropriate to comment on anything while the Welsh

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government were investigating, but he did add that once those

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investigations had concluded he would make, and in due course. But

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Naz Malik is not usually so shy. He has been nominated to carry the

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Olympic flame in the London traded of Olympic Torch Relay. The person

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who nominated him was his daughter. That's right, Tegwen Malik.

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No one from Crewe was willing to talk to us on Dragon's Eye this

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evening. -- AWEMA. Neither was any one from the Welsh government. A

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spokesperson told us it would be inappropriate for a minister to

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comment while a review of allegations was pending, that will

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be the third review the Welsh government has instigated into

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Crewe since the end of 2002. I'm joined now by the Conservative AM,

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Darren Millar, who was the chair of the Assembly's Public Accounts

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Committee. Good evening. What do you make of this? It is clear that

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the investigation into the serious allegations is concluded as soon as

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possible. Many millions of pounds have been funded to AWEMA over the

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years by a different public bodies and the public have got to have

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some confidence that that money is being used appropriately. We will

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come back to the review his second but in terms of the practical

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considerations of the major funders apparently freezing the money, do

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you have concerns about the knock- on effects of that on the groups

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that AWEMA funds? I do. There is uncertainty out there. I have been

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contacted by organisations in North Wales for example under the

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Assembly Members have also been contacted and this is a time of

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uncertainty for all those partners organisations that are there

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delivering very important programmes which benefit had good

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number of people across the country. Returning to the regulation issue,

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the other side issue, if you like, I understand that you have already

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shed your concerns about that with the auditor general? That is right,

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I wrote to the auditor general soon as I became aware of the serious

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allegations that were being made. He is the individual responsible

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for public money making sure that we are getting good value for

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taxpayers and of course he is monitoring the situation closely

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and has been involved in setting the terms of reference for the

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investigation which is now under way. What about your committee, do

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you think it might have a role in looking at this? I am sure it will.

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I know a number of committee members are interested. We want to

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make sure that taxpayers' funds are protected and we want to make sure

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that they are used for the benefit of those people that they should be

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used for and not to lie in people's pockets and a think it is important

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to get to the bottom of these allegations, to find out what has

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happened and make sure that taxpayers get the good value for

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the pound that they deserve. Would you welcome a formal police

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investigation? I certainly would welcome a formal police

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investigation. At the moment we are told South Wales police have been

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informed of the on going much government investigation but

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clearly some of these allegations are criminal and nature and I think

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the police should step in and get involved. I don't think that

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everybody is entirely confident in the ability of the Welsh government

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to conclude its investigations and take the appropriate action

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particularly given that two investigations have already taken

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place and it appears that the same allegations have been repeated yet

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again now in spite of those two investigations. Unit trusts -- you

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anticipated my next question, which was how much confidence you have

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been the effectiveness of what is is sensually a Serb review into

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this organisation? It is a third review but this is a joint review

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between the three organisations who give the vast majority of funding

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to AWEMA. I think that should give us a bit more confident that things

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will be done right this time and that if there are any

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recommendations they should be followed up and fully implemented

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by AWEMA and the other organisations involved.

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Historically what is your view of the effectiveness of the oversight

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of successive Osh governments in looking at the allegations that

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have persisted about AWEMA and its management? Obviously I haven't

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been involved in the details of the previous investigations but clearly

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they found that there were problems which needed to be addressed at

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AWEMA and it would appear that those same problems have emerged

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yet again, so I think the Welsh government will have some questions

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to answer. Now is not the time to challenge them over those issues.

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We have to await the outcome of the current investigation before we do

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that. Does it raise any wider concerns in your view about the

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efficacy of oversight in general or bodies in Wales which spend public

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money? I think that there are questions that can be asked about

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how money is being spent in Wales and an awful lot is given to

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organisations across the country by grants and we have to make sure

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that we get value for money for every pound that is spent,

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particularly in these very difficult economic times in terms

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of the finances that are available in the public sector and members of

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the public will be looking very closely at the outcome of the

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investigation to AWEMA to see whether there are any lessons that

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need to be learned. Darren Millar, thank you for joining us. Thank you.

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All eyes have been on Scotland this week after Alex Salmond, the First

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Minister, published a consultation document outlining his plans for

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the independence referendum to be least that is what the Scottish

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government wants to hold it. The UK government is still questioning why

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the boat can't take place sooner. That is not the only point of

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difference between the two sides. Brian Meechan has spent the week in

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Edinburgh. We know there will be a referendum.

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The question the Scottish government wants to ask is a simple

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one. Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country

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and that is where the complications really begin. This week has been a

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prologue to the unfolding It is a centuries-old tradition.

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Burns Night celebrates not only the bursting of the cost Scottish Bard

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but the country itself. Poetry and music accompany haggis and whisky

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at events across the globe including this Edinburgh bar. It is

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no coincidence that on this most Scottish of days the SNP government

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launched its plans to hold a referendum on independence. The

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First Minister even made reference to a Burns's poem in his statement

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to MSPs. Perhaps they should be reminded that burns' great hymn to

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equality has been aired in this Parliament before. A man is a man

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for all that, in 1999. Hundreds worship at his word. For all that

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and all that, the man of independent mind looks and laughs

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at all that. At West minster even David Cameron mentioned Burns's'

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work. Perhaps they should remember Burns's' words. Oh what a panic in

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your breast. Alex Salmond pound -- found time to Spar with the Prime

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Minister over his grasp of it. are perfectly willing to offer a

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friendly gesture elocution lessons on pronunciation if that would

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Waverley station in Edinburgh is the main entry point to the capital

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by rail. It is named after a novel by the international event Scottish

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has a morning at on Princes Street. He is credited as the man who

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invented Scotland, popularising many myths along the way. But he's

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been overlooked in his own homeland. In terms of when Scotland is

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talking about itself, water scored his left out. There is a sense in

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which, as a unionist and a Tory, he cannot be integrated into the story.

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So what has caught is dismissed as having a romanticised view of

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Scotland, draped in tartan. Some argue that even to this day, there

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remains a nostalgia and myth that is wrapped up in the current

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political climate. It is not a view that the shared by all. There was a

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rule that Alex Salmond would have is referendum on the date of the

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Battle of Bannockburn. But of course he has not, he has gone

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beyond that. Scotland has gone be on the haggis and kills and all the

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rest of it. Robert Burns is the national poet, that is allowed, but

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kills and haggis is not any longer be a factor. It is for tourists.

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The Scottish National Party like to flaunt their nationalist

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credentials and play on Scotland and Robert Burns, but that is not

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central to the campaign. It is the economy, stupid, when it comes to

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Scotland. They will centre the campaign on their claim that

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Scotland will be better off a economically, if Independent.

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so waters caught's supporters accept he had a particular view of

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the country. He created an identity for Scottish people that would go

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global. People recognise Scotland internationally through the

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Waverley novels. It is a great boon, but it is also a customs up every

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time you see Scrooge make DUP, you have Watters caught to that of

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additional scores and as tight fitted -- tight fisted,

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parsimonious, slightly intellectual, so that is a mixed blessing.

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Watters court was not a critical to battle with London. He took on the

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UK Treasury when they tried to abolish Scottish back rows, and he

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won. Perhaps a useful lesson for another Scot in his dealings with

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the UK jazz well over the economy. Would an independent Scotland be

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able to use sterling? The UK government was a bit silly in

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saying that it was not able to use the Prime. It is not be a gift,

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either way. Once we get past these debates on process, that is when,

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hopefully, we will see deeper debates on the substance of what

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independence would include. cause will be asked in autumn 2014

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whether they want independence. The Scottish government has also

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decided to consult on whether there should be the second question

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offering substantially more powers for Holyrood, including over income

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tax and welfare, but remaining in the UK. My gut instinct tells we

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will end up with one question but Alex Salmond are such a canny

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politician that I would not rule it out completely, and it would be a

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civil auction for him. Ahead of announcing his plans, Alex Salmond

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went to the Scottish storytelling Centre, where children listen to

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the famous Robert Burns's poem, Tam Roshan do. The Prime Minister --

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the First Minister wants to lower the voting age to allow 16 and 17-

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year-olds to cast their ballot. That is opposed by UK ministers.

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There have been protests from one expatriate but only scores living

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board. Supporters court is being credited as the man who sold the

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union and the monarchy to this cause, and Scotland and the Sports

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to the world. As the international independence this week it would be

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interesting to know what the man himself would have made of it.

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had an idea about justice and how the country should enter react. He

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would be asking why we still do not have an answer to the west Lothian

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question. At the moment, there is unfairness, built into the union,

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and that is towards England, not Scotland. It could potentially make

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things more difficult for Wales within a UK context, of Scotland

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were to become an independent country. It might make it more

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difficult to have a voice for the devolved administrations. The there

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will, no doubt, be more unexpected turns in the plot, as Scotland

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raced s you story, I head. My thanks to the council and the

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Writers' Museum for electing us do some filming with then. I am joined

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by a few men who have written more than a few chapters on Scottish

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politics, Brian Taylor, the political editor of BBC Scotland,

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and Brian Cochrane. There is no coincidence that this was launched

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on Burns Night. One of the people will look at was supporters caught,

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who created a Scottish identity, probably more than most, but...

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was accused of inventing a fictional Scotland. I am a huge fan

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of supporters court. He was a great writer. Also he had a great talent

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for poetry. There are two lines that are apposite, for this, first,

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what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive. I

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would not accuse politicians of line, but this issue of cultural

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identity is at the core of this. The sense of being Scottish is a

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given in Scotland, across the political divide. Nobody disputes

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that. It is whether that requires independence to thrive, or whether

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it can thrive within a devolved structure within the United Kingdom.

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A tangled web, this is becoming ever more tangled. It is not a

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simple yes-no answer to independence. The First Minister

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Alex Salmond is presenting it as a simple question but first of all,

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it is not legal, and people say that he wants to get. There is a

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long way to go on the wording of the question and even to make it

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legal. We have never had the problem in Scotland with identity.

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We're all Scottish. With a nationalist, Unionist, Labour or

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whatever. We do not have the language problem that the Welsh

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have, not really. There are only 60,000 native Gaelic speakers. That

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is not an issue in Scotland. With a were nationalists or Unionists is a

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big issue. We have this rather odd constitutional second question that

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is being talked about. In practical terms, how can that work? What

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happened if you add 51% going for independence and 75% going for Devo

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Max? It would have to be done as a paving question saying, do you want

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a change at all, and if you do, do you want independence or do you

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when they should be seen as competing. It is likely to gain the

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question because that is the one that the UK Government will give

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the endorsement do. Alex Salmond, you can almost hear him saying that

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my rivals prevented you, the Scottish people, from having the

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wider opportunity of dealing with all the options on the ballot paper.

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I wanted to give it to you. But, eventually, we will come down to a

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ballot in 2014 and they think it will be a yes-no choice on

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independence but we are very far from that point, right now. Alex

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Salmond is known as a master tactician. Is this another tactic

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on his part to say that we are not getting let to do what you want to

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do by London? He has his excuses already. He knows he will lose on

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the independence question so he wants two questions. This has been

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going on since we were board in short trousers, and the opinion

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polls have hardly moved. About 30% support independence, it has never

0:23:030:23:07

moved in 40 years. I suspect it will not move after another two-

0:23:070:23:11

and-a-half years of debate. He has got his excuses ready. He wants the

0:23:120:23:15

second question as a consolation prize but he is not going to get it,

0:23:150:23:23

and that is the line in the sand, the red line, yon Bitch -- beyond

0:23:230:23:30

which no one will go. One of the things we have seen is this dispute

0:23:300:23:33

with the UK Government about the currency goes of George Osborne

0:23:330:23:37

said that Scotland would not be allowed to use sterling. They

0:23:370:23:42

cannot stop that from happening. Alex Salmond has made that point

0:23:420:23:50

rather vigorously, that sterling is a tradable currency. There are 67

0:23:500:23:52

nations that are either in a monetary union or informal

0:23:530:23:59

relations. The bigger issue is of course the Bank of England would be

0:23:590:24:04

determining interest rates were Scotland. That issue was harder

0:24:040:24:14
0:24:140:24:17

that Holyrood today. -- was hammered out at Holyrood. Of course,

0:24:170:24:22

this is not just a question for Scotland. It has a massive impact

0:24:230:24:26

on the governors of the UK as a whole, including Wales.

0:24:260:24:36

understand why people in Wales are concerned, especially about Devo

0:24:360:24:43

Max. I think the straightforward independence question will be lost

0:24:430:24:47

by the nationalists. But all the parts of the UK need to worry about

0:24:470:24:56

the second part. What happens if we get Devo Max and Alex Salmond guess

0:24:560:25:06

it'll 0.5% corporation tax? Do we have different corporation tax all

0:25:060:25:16
0:25:160:25:16

about? Alex Salmond is keen to form a tripartite alliance with Wales

0:25:160:25:19

and Northern Ireland when it comes to putting pressure a London. The

0:25:190:25:25

situation in Scotland would be used by Carwyn Jones, has a lever to

0:25:250:25:28

Prize Model of concessions for the good and sensible people of Wales.

0:25:280:25:33

We see that are already starting to happen. Thank you both. That is

0:25:330:25:38

pretty much it from Edinburgh for now at least. I suspect we will be

0:25:380:25:45

-- we will be back talking about this up until autumn, 2014. We go

0:25:450:25:51

speak to our political editor about that. I like the random bursts of

0:25:510:25:54

applause going on in the background there. I think we should have this

0:25:550:26:04

in the studio you, it would be encouraging! -- the studio, here.

0:26:040:26:09

What has gone on in Scotland has affected the debate between the

0:26:090:26:15

countries. Yes, it was interesting to here E.ON Jones saying that it

0:26:150:26:20

will become leader and week when in 2016 and Twenty20, that should be

0:26:200:26:23

enough of a trigger to have a referendum on independence in Wales,

0:26:230:26:30

too. David Ellis Thomas responded by saying that there is no point in

0:26:300:26:35

having that in 10, 15 or 20 years' time, get on with the job, use the

0:26:350:26:39

powers we have got now, and then deliver those sort of things

0:26:390:26:45

afterwards. The battle is certainly going to heat up. What is happening

0:26:450:26:49

in Scotland is bound to have some sort of effect. We will talk about

0:26:490:26:54

how the leadership race this shipping up in a second. It is a

0:26:540:26:59

difficult question to answer, so forgive me, but, is what is going

0:26:590:27:02

on as Gordon going to make it easier for the winning candidate in

0:27:020:27:07

the Nationalist Party of Wales or will they suffer by comparison?

0:27:070:27:11

will be difficult just by comparison. Alex Salmond is winning

0:27:110:27:16

prizes left, right and centre. What you heard yesterday was that he was

0:27:160:27:19

going to the bigger stroke of luck to pull this off but you did not

0:27:190:27:25

bet against Alex Salmond. And nationalist leader in Wales could

0:27:250:27:30

suffer by comparison unless they can land the same sort of punches.

0:27:300:27:35

But they would not be leaving at a stagnant time. Their job would be

0:27:350:27:40

to make sure that things land and the right places, for Wales. What

0:27:400:27:43

about the state of the leadership race itself know that nominations

0:27:430:27:49

are close? We have four candidates, and we kept a living in hope that

0:27:490:27:54

something would happen. Four very different personalities. Four

0:27:540:27:58

people who will take the party in different directions, to the left,

0:27:580:28:03

perhaps back into coalition with Labour, towards independence,

0:28:030:28:07

towards more consensual politics. It is a real choice and not just

0:28:070:28:13

because they are all very different people. The party wants this to get

0:28:130:28:17

out to the hustings, and for people to discuss this, so that when the

0:28:170:28:24

new leader is elected, in March, things can move on. I wonder if the

0:28:240:28:29

A special report on allegations of corruption and financial wrongdoing at Wales' most high profile ethnic minority organisation.

And the question's been popped and a date set. Is Scotland wedded to the SNP's call for Independence?


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