ASSEMBLY Members have hit out at their own colleagues, accusing them of living in a "fool's paradise" and treating the Welsh Assembly as little more than a talking shop.
Two AMs have questioned whether Wales has the calibre of politicians to do justice to the new Government of Wales Act. Their comments cast doubt over whether the current crop of AMs can cope with extended powers for Wales.
One even said some AMs regard the Assembly as little more than a county or even community council, where all members do is talk.
The comments, to be broadcast tonight by S4C's Taro Naw programme, reveal some politicians are sceptical whether AMs are ready for their new political role.
Alun Ffred Jones, Plaid Cymru AM for Caernarfon, said, "Many Assembly Members live in a fool's paradise.
"They believe it's like a county council or a community council, where it's all just talk and talk, but there's going to be a revolution in 2007, which will pave the way, hopefully, for a proper parliament in the future."
And Glyn Davies, Conservative AM for Mid and West Wales, said, "The new Act is an opportunity for us to raise the standard of debate and our performance.
"I have felt disillusioned in the past by the sheer pettiness, repetitiveness and pointlessness of some debates.
"People stand up to be angry about something that is so minor and so narrow in its concern that only AMs care about it."
The Government of Wales Act will extend the Assembly's law-making powers, although not to the same level as Scotland, which has primary law-making powers.
Under the new system, instead of having to find Parliamentary time for a Bill to be debated - in the past only one or two Welsh Bills have been given time in each session - the Assembly will seek approval from Westminster to draft the legislation itself.
Many commentators have previously suggested that the Assembly does not have the necessary calibre of politicians to properly scrutinise and debate Bills.
Mr Davies said, "I think the Assembly will be a very different place - I think there will be some members who will not cope with the changes, although none of us know who they will be yet."
But most agree that strengthening devolution with extended powers will be beneficial for Wales and for the Assembly's ability to fully connect with the public.
Mr Jones said, "People are almost schizophrenic about the Assembly - they like to say that it's a talking shop, which is 50% correct, but they also understand that the Assembly is closer to them and is trying to deal with Welsh issues."
Lord Elis-Thomas, the Assembly's presiding officer, believes that the changes will have a dramatic impact on the way AMs work.
As their workload rises, the Assembly could sit for more than two plenary sessions a week and the long recesses could be cut back.
He tells the Taro Naw programme that the Assembly will need to sit for double the hours it does currently to deal with its extra responsibilities from May next year.
And if changes to the working day are introduced, he believes that political parties should not use this time for meetings.
They should, he says, meet at lunchtime or out of hours.
Taro Naw will be broadcast at 8.25pm on S4C tonight.