Talk:Scottish Government

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Lord Advocate and Solicitor-General[edit]

Are the Lord Advocate and Solicitor-General appointed from outside the Parliament, as neither Elish Angiolini nor Colin Boyd are listed on Members of the Scottish Parliament, 2003-2007?

Yes. The way it works, off the top of my head, is that they *may* be an MSP, but that as their jobs are fairly specialist, it is unlikely that they could be filled from the pool of MSPs. Therefore, they can be appointed from the outside. Maybe someone who knows exactly should add it into the article. Maccoinnich 13:13, Mar 15, 2005 (UTC)

The Scotland Act 1998 provides for the Lord Advocate and Solicitor General for Scotland to be appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the First Minister. They must resign in the event of a "no confidence" vote in the Scottish Parliament. The Act also permits them to sit in the Parliament and participate in its proceedings (if they are not MSPs) but not to vote. In the past, those appointed to law officer posts were either MPs or had strong political affilitations (in which case they were elevated to the House of Lords). The appointment of Elish Angiolini as Sol Gen reflects a move away from political appointment.--George Burgess 13:53, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

List of Departments[edit]

Could someone who knows a bit more about the subject have a look at the list of departments in the UK civil service in Scotland section. The education department link takes you to the Hong Kong education department and the Justice Department link takes you to the US department. We only seem to have an article for the environment department. I'd be inclined to redo all the links in line with the environment department one so that when we get articles on each department, hopefully the links will be pointing in the right place. Does anybody have any thoughts? RicDod 16:05, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

  • All of these links should now be sorted in a consistent and unambiguous format. I've added a fairly bland stub on ETLLD, hoping that someone with the inclination, or at least a passing familiarity with the other Departments, will add their tuppence worth... Wisdom of clowns 21:33, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Edit war over description of coat of arms[edit]

Instead of edit warring over the description for the coat of arms could we possibly discuss a compromise? I personally think that the description is fairly interesting and would be useful for the reader and should be included. The royal coat of arms which in one version is on the page twice should only be on the page once. Perhaps we could have a separate section for discussion of the coat of arms. This may unbalance the article slightly, but the article needs expanding, so over time this shouldn't be an issue. RicDod 13:05, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Agree with RicDod. The removal of the detailed description and obfuscation of the true nature of the UK Arms is not justified. --Mais oui! 18:18, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Thanks Astrotrain, I hadn't realised that this was discussed in another article. It would make more sense to me, to only have the discussion in one place with links in from other relevant articles. If there was a brief note in the caption to the Scottish executive arms explaining that there were differences and a link to the relevant discussion would this be OK for everyone? RicDod 19:21, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Except that what Astrotrain failed to tell you was that there is not a detailed description of the difference between the SE Arms and the UK Arms at that article. --Mais oui! 19:37, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Government or Executive?[edit]

I noticed that the BBC has begun using the term Government [1] instead of Executive. Has there been a name change? Regan123 19:39, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

No, no change. The term "government" has been used intermittently over the last 8 years to describe the Scottish Executive.--George Burgess 20:03, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

I think there has been some change on the news it was reported that the civil service are to refer to the term Scottish government rather than executive. --Barryob Vigeur de dessus 19:51, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
The BBC notably used the term in lowercase - 'Scottish government' rather than 'Scottish Government'. The Scottish Executive remains the legal term and the one still used in all formal dealings. --Breadandcheese 14:49, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Am I right in thinking that the Gaelic term "Riaghaltas"translates as "Government"? It is very similar to the Irish word used for Government; "Rialtas"

Quite possibly, after all the two terms are almost synonymous - it's exceptionally possibly that Irish and Scots Gaelic would not have different terms to translate the two. --Breadandcheese 14:49, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
The Executive looks set to be fully rebranded next week [2] --Barryob Vigeur de dessus 12:08, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
It has already started (see [3])- sign changed at Victoria Quay. Astrotrain 12:54, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
I think this article should now be moved to Scottish Government, given the official name change. Legally the body will continue to be known as the Scottish Executive, but all the signs and letterheads will now say Scottish Government, wikipedia should reflect this change. Abc30 17:43, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
I agree, I have made a request at WP:RM --Barryob Vigeur de dessus 18:06, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
Yes, given the alteration in circumstance I must agree this is sensible notwithstanding my previous objection. --Breadandcheese 21:38, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
I strongly disagree, it's just a cheap attempt at back-door independence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:38, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes, the term "Riaghaltas" means government, not Executive, but it is the term which has always been used by it, itself. The First Minister is also Am Priomh-Mhinistear, meaning Prime Minister, not First Minister. This has always been the case. --MacRusgail 19:25, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

The correct legal term is still Executive. ( (talk) 12:52, 7 November 2010 (UTC))

So what? that's not what it is called in real life by almost everyone in Scotland, including the media and political establishment. The term 'Prime Minister' is not actually a legal title either but it is used all the time. The PM's legal title is actually 'First Lord of the Treasury'. The article is already clear about the legal definition. Wikipedia must adhere to what the terminology in general use. It is not the purpose of a wikipedia article to show bias, be it nationalist or unionist —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:27, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

The Prime Minister's correct title is First Minister, which is the same thing. ( (talk) 12:57, 18 January 2011 (UTC))

"Former" arms?[edit]

I suspect these arms are not in fact "former" - but would be the present arms of the Scottish Government, just not incorporated into the logo anymore. --Breadandcheese 01:26, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I've tried to clarify. Doops | talk 02:32, 6 September 2007 (UTC)


In trying to clean up Finance and Sustainable Growth Directorate, I was looking for references. I couldn't find any reference to a department with this eact name on the SG website, and I note that the reference on Finance and Central Services Department is broken. Further, the SG website has a page on the Greener Scotland Directorate [4], not mentioned in our template. I am concerned that the directorates are not accurately represented on WP, and would like someone with a bit more knowledge to check this out and confirm with references and working links. Thanks, Jonathan Oldenbuck 09:34, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

The problem here is that the new Directorates do not correspond to the old Departments of the Scottish Executive. The Directorates are, broadly speaking, the tier below the old Departments, and there is no level of structure corresponding to what used to be Departments. There are now 40 or so Directorates, compared with the handful of former Departments. The edits by Barryob, while well-intentioned, try to equate Directorates with Departments - for example he has moved the article on Scottish Executive Justice Department to Justice and Communities Directorate, an entity which does not exist. I had begun the process of amending the old articles about Departments, at least to indicate that they no longer exist, but had not started creating articles about the individual Directorates, which might be overkill. A chart showing the new arrangements is available at [5] - I appear on page 8 as the Deputy Director responsible for Criminal Law & Licensing within the Criminal Justice Directorate--George Burgess 20:04, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Ah sorry I didn't realise --Barryob (Contribs) (Talk) 00:46, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks George for your helpful explanation. Obviously the restructuring has been fairly far-reaching, but I am still unsure how we represent this on WP. The template {{Scottish Executive Departments}} would now appear to be completely inaccurate if not misleading. An article for each of 40 odd directorates does seem like overkill - perhaps a separate page on Directorates of the Scottish Government to cover tham all? The section on "United Kingdom Civil Service in Scotland" also seems to give more prominence to the old departments than to the new directorates. I will raise this at WP:SCOWNB to get a wider view. Jonathan Oldenbuck (talk) 10:30, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Jonathan, I think the old template can be made into a redirect. But thanks for bringing this to wider attention. --MacRusgail (talk) 15:56, 5 December 2007 (UTC

Directorates can be grouped into their parent Directorates General, but as it stands it's an (albeit well intentioned) pig's breakfast. There's no such Directorate as Education and Lifelong Learning, for instance. There is DG Education, headed by Philip Rycroft, and Lifelong Learning Directorate, headed by Mark Batho, but LLD is only one of several Directorates comprising DG Education. Philip has strategic lead on the 'Smarter' theme of government and the other former Department Heads (now Directors General) each have strategi lead on one of these. Does anyone want to have a stab at this? Wisdom of clowns (talk) 16:15, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Seeing as it was me who created the miss I will attempt to fix it but I am unsure who to group the directorates I was thinking on going by the cabinet portfolio eg Justice and Communities Directorates, Rural Affairs and Environment Directorates ect --Barryob (Contribs) (Talk) 14:00, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks Barryob but the only way to group the Directorates in any meaningful way would be into their respective Directorates General. Directorates are not necessarily co-terminous with Ministerial portfolios.Wisdom of clowns (talk) 23:41, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

I understand but is there a list of the Directorates General the Scottish Gov website only lists the Directors General [6] so just group them under the Director General Directorate General Education ect --Barryob (Contribs) (Talk) 19:50, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

The "Who's Who" chart available at shows all the Ministers, Directors-General and Directorates (and their component Divisions). The colour coding is a reasonably good indication of which Ministerial portfolios particular Directorates belong with, but is misleading in suggesting alignment with Directors-General (Robert Gordon, DG Justice & Communities, is shown in orange, as are the Justice Directorates, but not his Housing & Regeneration Directorate, which reports to Health Ministers).--George Burgess (talk) 17:53, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Page Move[edit]

I think this page should be moved to Scottish Executive as that is its official/legal name according to Section 44 of the Scotland Act 1998 and a name change to Scottish Government would require a new act of Parliament. Views. Rahowell (talk) 23:17, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Scottish Government is the name used by the identity itself, so the article should stay where it is per WP:COMMONNAME. The introduction clearly explains the origins of the entity. Jmorrison230582 (talk) 12:03, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. The Scottish media, including STV and the BBC use the term Scottish Government and even the Scottish Labour party use the term, so the old term is unlikely to be used again in the future, no matter who is in charge. The old term was disliked by most politicians IN Scotland (only scottish labour westminster MPs seem to complain about it as it undermines their powerbase) and the new term is also liked by the Scottish media as the old term did not provide clarity and the people often confused the parliament with the legislature in reports. In fact I fully anticipate the the change will be written into the next draft of the Scotland Act when it is next amended, just as happened with Wales; Wales used the term 'Assembly Government' for several years before the Wales Act was updated, proving the fact that legal technicalities are often slow to catch up with realities on the ground. The reality on the gound here is that 'Scottish Executive' will never become a common currency term again in Scotland; the current term is here to stay and the article should reflect this. -- (talk) 16:39, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Scotland does not have a government, it has a parliament with limited powers. I hope that when Labour retake control they will revert to the correct title, the Scottish Executive. ( (talk) 17:10, 22 September 2010 (UTC))

Dream on. It won't change as the other parties all agree with the title too. Go back to sleep. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:37, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

There is no such thing as a "Scottish government". The correect legal title is still Executive. ( (talk) 12:47, 7 November 2010 (UTC))

Your political bias is obvious but you have to face reality: that's not what it is called in real life by almost everyone in Scotland, including the media and political establishment. The term 'Prime Minister' is not actually a legal title either but it is used all the time. The PM's legal title is actually 'First Lord of the Treasury'. Wikipedia must adhere to what the terminology in general use. The article is already clear about the legal definition. It is not the purpose of a wikipedia article to show bias, be it nationalist or unionist. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:31, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

The reality is that the Scottish Executive is simply a parliament with limited powers, not a government. No matter what some nationialists might like to call the parliament it is still called the Scottish Executive. (HantersSpade (talk) 17:19, 17 January 2011 (UTC))

Another point to bear in mind is that people speak of Local Government when they meant District Councils (See Local government in Scotland). Are you saying that towns and counties have governments but Scotland does not? Scroggie (talk) 17:58, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Scotland has a government at Westminster. (HantersSpade (talk) 17:19, 17 January 2011 (UTC))

The Executive will legally be renamed Government as a result of the new Scotland bill so this will finally end this pointless debate. --Barryob (Contribs) (Talk) 03:23, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

But we still don't have a government. I can't wait for Labour to retake control in May. Billy Connolly is right, the Scottish parliament is a joke and the SNP is a racist party. ( (talk) 12:56, 18 January 2011 (UTC))

Yawn. As a previous poster said, I can't wait for the new Scotland Bill to be actioned - check the bill - the executive will be legally renamed government. Where will you retreat to then? Will you remain in denial or will you finally seek the medication you require? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:49, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

I have seen several references in newspapers to the Scottish Executive and Scottish Executive administration only this week. Labour should keep the name Executive when they are returned to power in May. Our parliament is a joke anyway. The only real government is the one at Westminster, and rightly so. ( (talk) 11:46, 27 January 2011 (UTC))

The papers you refer to are only two: the daily mail and the Telegraph, who both state that they continue to use the legal definition for political reasons (unionism). This has been the case since 2007 - but they are in a minority compared to the vast majority of media. It will be interesting to see what these two newspapers do when the legal name is changed in the new Scotland Bill. Will they continue to use the old term executive, even when it is no longer a legal definition? Possibly, but they will be laughed at if they do. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

No more laughed at than our pathetic joke of a parliament for trying to pass itself off as a "government"! The Scottish Sun also often uses the correct title. Thankfully most people in this country are too clever to fool for Salmond's ridiculous back-door attempt at independence. ( (talk) 18:46, 27 January 2011 (UTC))

You were saying? ;-) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:09, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

The only reason Salmond did so well last month was due to an exceptionally poor campaign by Labour. This is as high as he can ever get. Now that he can no longer blame all his mistakes on only being a minority administration we will soon see a loss of support for the nationalists. ( (talk) 13:35, 5 June 2011 (UTC))

Cabinet membership[edit]

I think the section on the Cabinet is misleading, it suggests that all the Ministers are in the Cabinet, but my understanding is that it is just the FM, DFM and Cabinet Secretaries, and possibly one or two others.

Tallmanbaby (talk) 20:26, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

It is correct in saying that Cabinet consists of the Scottish Ministers (less the Law Officers). "Scottish Ministers" is a technical term, explained in the preceding section, and excludes the junior Ministers. --George Burgess (talk) 18:44, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Is this just a typo?[edit]

What is the this reference "Scots: Scots Govrenment" in the lead-in? I don't know a single person in the Scotland I inhabit who says "govrenment" when they mean "government" (and say "goverment", like most speakers of English). This really is illiterate tosh. Also, given that the overwhelming population of Scotland speaks standard English or Scots, why is Gaelic given precedence in the sequence? There really are all kinds of hidden agendas at work here. Kim Traynor (talk) 21:26, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

I believe this is because that is how 'Government' is traditionally spelt in Scots. When the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999, it was declared that Scots, Gaelic and Modern English were the 'official languages of Scotland', with all titles and a good deal of information published in all three linquistic forms. Gaelic and Scots were included as a nod to cultural heritage, with modern English used, of course, for the vast majority of everyday communications.

Now, you can of course get into a debate here about whether Scots is a 'language' or a 'dialect' but The Wikipedia Scottish Government article is not the place to discuss this. We are talking about the official policy of the Parliament as defined when it was set up in 1999.