"In the Soviet Union, whatever the Constitution said, in practice the constituent republics were run from Moscow and by local henchmen loyal to it. This is clearly Mr Blair's model of how Wales and Scotland are to be run after May 1999. Hence Alun Michael and the decision to people the Scottish Parliament only with leadership loyalists. The problem for Mr Blair is that the best conditions for the successful application of democratic centralism are a cowed, defeated nation and a supine press. This is also the challenge to the Scottish people and their media."
Tim Williams, writing in 1998, with a remarkably clear-sighted characterisation of how Tony Blair envisaged devolution working - basically as a rebranded version of the old Scottish Office, with London still indirectly pulling the strings via internal Labour party channels. And he got his wish too, if only for the first eight years. Let's have a quick straw poll - do you think the Scottish press have met the challenge that Williams laid down for them a decade-and-a-half ago? (That may not be an entirely serious question.)