Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fancy seeing the Queen open Scottish Parliament on 1st July?

On Friday 1st July, there's going to be all sorts of celebration in Edinburgh. The Queen is going to come and open the fourth session of the Holyrood Parliament. There's going to be all sorts of pomp and circumstance - a procession of the Crown of Scotland, Her Maj addressing the newly elected MSPs, a massive public riding through the Old Town of some 1500 people. The riding is an old Scottish tradition as the Scottish Parliament website tells us:

The old Scottish Parliament traditionally opened with a processional ceremony called the ‘Riding of the Parliament’. The first Riding of Parliament to the newly completed Parliament Hall on Edinburgh’s High Street, occurred on 31 August 1639. This Riding was the basis of the ceremony that occurred at the opening of each parliament up until a few years before the Treaty of Union in 1707.
The procession started from the Palace of Holyroodhouse and was led by trumpeters. Next came the burgh and shire commissioners, followed by the nobility. Then the Honours of Scotland were displayed, followed by heralds and puirsuivants from the Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms. Finally came the representative of the monarch, the King’s Commissioner.
These days it's a wee bit more inclusive. We have kids and community groups processing down the Royal Mile. There's celebration and fun.

The Scottish Parliament has 8 pairs of tickets, one for each region, to be given away by random ballot. You can find out all you need to know about how to apply for them here.  I can't apply this time. 1st July is Anna's last day at Primary School, and that only happens once in a lifetime, so I'll be at the school gates fighting back the emotions so as not to embarrass her. But you might want to sit in the public gallery looking down as the Queen addresses the Chamber and the country. So get your application in and good luck.


cynicalHighlander said...

I hope Willie Rennie wont be there after his disgraceful speech this morning in Holyrood. Bitter man.

Unknown said...

He is the least bitter person I know.

And he's right to highlight that he wants to see progress on services, not separation. My wee one has to be educated - these next 5 years are critical to her. The Government needs to deliver for her and her classmates.

Willie was very clear that we will work constructively with the SNP.

The SNP is the establishment now - and I totally believe that the establishment has to be challenged at every turn. That's not bitter, that's just helpful democracy.

While you may have preferred that Willie tugged his forelock and said "yes, sir, three bags full, Mr Salmond", it shouldn't happen that way and if he had, I'd have been so mad with him.

cynicalHighlander said...

According to Brian Taylor on his blog.

"Instead of matching the gentle mood of the occasion - now a Holyrood tradition - he launched an outspoken attack on the SNP and "Alex Salmond's new independence army".

Rennie's rendition got a meager 3 claps from his team as the other 120+ couldn't believe their ears at his vitriol. But what do they know eh?

Unknown said...

You've led a sheltered life if you thought that was vitriol.

And Brian got that Willie needs to make his mark.

youngdegsy said...

Caron, I agree that Willie is not bitter but I think there is something in the point cynicalHighlander has made.

While I agree that Willie was the only credible candidate to begin with and I encouraged him to stand, in one sense it was a shame that there was no contest, as this could have allowed contenders to hear the views of members around Scotland. The members' forum in June is a welcome step and I will be taking part.

However, I am becoming increasingly annoyed at the sense of petty sniping which seems to have been adopted as the official leadership line against the SNP under Tavish and now renewed under Willie, if his speech today is anything to go by. Even Brian Taylor - hardly biased against us - commented on how misjudged it was in his blog (

Neither Annabel Goldie nor Iain Gray support independence, and neither suggested in their speeches today that they did or would. But both struck a much more measured and appropriate tone today than Willie. They didn't fawn over Salmond or his government, but they seemed to have twigged that the SNP has a majority because a large proportion of the public has just voted for them, and that today was a day to respect that judgement and suggest that they will support where deserved and hold to account where necessary. The clear impression taken from it, and also from his previous comments about a "bulldozer SNP government", alongside the last (and fairly desperate sounding) warning about the dangers of independence on the eve of poll, suggest that the leadership and the Parliamentary group views itself as the last and best defenders of militant unionism.

Who appointed us Natbashers in chief? And why on earth would we want this role for ourselves anyway? We hardly have the institutional strength within the Parliament to worry the SNP (as Salmond cleverly alluded to) and presenting ourselves as more dyed-in-the-wool unionists than Labour or the Tories is a place which many party members and activists feel distinctively uncomfortable. We believe in home rule through federalism - devolution was a means to an end to achieve the Parliament but it is not our preferred destination. We have more instinctive common ground with the SNP than the two other larger parties, especially on things like bolstering the financial powers of the Scotland Bill. Many of the additional powers Salmond is seeking for the Scotland Bill come straight out of the Steel Commission report, which is our own party policy.

This is not only bad long-term strategy, but also bad short-term tactics. The SNP are popular at the moment and we are not. By emphasising our agreements with them and making a big song and dance of working with them on selected issues, we could dispel some of the guilt-by-association we have received through Cameron and Clegg. Instead we seem to be redoubling our efforts to pursue and even accentuate a strategy which (in part) recently cost us 60% of our support and two-thirds of our parliamentary representatives. Are we seriously asking the public to hit us over the head again before we get it?

Although I was sad to see Tavish go I had hoped that a clean break might signal that we would no longer need to sign up to this. One term of this rubbish was enough for me. Instead it seems to be getting worse, which is a profoundly depressing prospect.

Unknown said...

Derek, I think I understand where you are coming from, but Willie's tone is, I think, substantially different than the last, depressing, 4 years.

I felt that we opposed everything for no good reason, and I am confident that's not going to happen this time. I think we'll be much more constructive.

I think Willie was laying down a marker, warning Salmond not to abuse his power, which I think is quite legitimate. All we've seen them do since the election is talk about 57 different varieties of independence.

You would also think that having had 4 years as a minority, they'd have some more sympathy for the position Mike Moore is in. They are trying to drive a wedge between us and Mike and we can't let them do that.

I think you'll find that when it comes to substantive policy issues, there'll be reasoned, careful, argument - and when we agree we'll say it loudly.

The sectarianism stuff will be quite a test. We have to be sure that the right to criticise religion is not threatened by the proposed legislation. I think that the best way to deal with sectarianism is education to be honest. There may be a case for new offences and powers, but we have to be very careful that these are implemented in a liberal way.

And, the other point I'd make is that the SNP were a right pain in the backside when they were in opposition - they opposed absolutely everything and were awkward about things like maternity leave for Government MSPs. I'm not suggesting that we should behave in such a way - just remembering that they have behaved badly in the past.

cynicalHighlander said...

Caron if I use the wrong words and tone to describe someone doesn't mean I am wrong in the impression they portray as dyslexia comes in many forms so either accept it or block me. I could call him many names but maybe stupid is more apt after your last election results.

The world is far bigger and moved on further than your apparent LibDem tunnel vision of Westminster being the top of the mountain.

You have said in the past that your knowledge/goal of independence isn't on your radar yet you make this statement. "All we've seen them do since the election is talk about 57 different varieties of independence."

No unionists have been falling over themselves panicking that their cosy world might change and printing total rubbish like someone going skinny dipping for the first time and finding their clothes have been removed.

I one doesn't search for the information then one stays ignorant of facts nearer the truth.

Breaking up has become less easy

The most striking case is to be found in the Liberal Democrats, a party that was once more sophisticated than most in its understanding of the complexities of constitutional politics. Over forty years ago the Scottish Liberal Party passed a resolution demanding that "Scotland now have direct representation at all levels of the (European] Community". Few parties have managed to squander such a rich constitutional inheritance as the Liberal Democrats

Thanks to 'youngdegsy' for having an open mind and a considered post.


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