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Scottish Parliament opening Friday, 9 July, 1999, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Beginning of a new song
Victoria Joffe reads a piece
Victoria Joffe reads Amy Linekar's piece
In keeping with the spirit of the occasion, the opening ceremony of the Scottish Parliament on 1 July incorporated both traditional and modern themes in terms of prose and poetry.

Tom Fleming
Tom Fleming delivers the poem
The programme included a Robert Burns song and a contemporary poem by the late Iain Crichton Smith, as well as a reading on the theme of Scotland by a national schools competition winner.

Immediately after the Queen officially opened the parliament, well-known Scottish broadcaster Tom Fleming stood to recite The Beginning of a New Song, a previously unpublished poem by Iain Crichton Smith which calls for Scotland to "sing in a new world".

The Beginning of a New Song
By Iain Crichton Smith

Let our three-voiced country
sing in a new world
joining the other rivers without dogma,
but with friendliness to all around her.

Let her new river shine on a day
that is fresh and glittering and contemporary;

Let it be true to itself and to its origins
inventive, original, philosophical,
its institutions mirror its beauty;
then without shame we can esteem ourselves.

Folk singer Sheena Wellington sang A Man's a Man for A' That from a balcony overlooking the hall before First Minister Donald Dewar thanked The Queen for the gift of the Mace, the symbol of the Parliament's authority.

The second and final reading aired a young, modern voice through a piece entitled "How to Create a Great Country" by Amy Linekar, a winner of the National Year of Reading Schools Competition.

HOW TO CREATE A GREAT COUNTRY
by Amy Linekar, aged 11

So, you're a home baking expert,
and you want a challenge,
But you don't have the faintest idea what.
Well, here's a foolproof recipe;
go ahead, try it!

Take:
several heroic battles,
some kilts of tartan fine
a clearance's worth of emigration,
a thistle's worth of spike,
and a rebellion or two

Mix together with a spoon of fate and
add:
Granny's best mince 'n' tatties
corned beef hash or tattie soup,
Oor Willie's share of mischief
add a clove of Gaelic,
and a broad Scots tongue

Amy Linekar
Amy Linekar: Competition winner
Fold in gently:
an Edinburgh Festival, with all the trimmings,
a football match between the greens
and blues,
a sleekit, courin, timorous beastie by
Rabbie Burns,
and a life of design by Charles Rennie
Mackintosh

Churn in on a production line:
a few millennia of fishing,
several thousand acres of farming,
a steel furnace full of shipbuilding,
and a fish supper with microchips

Leave to rise and mature
and ice with a bright future of:
connections with the world,
flourishing industries that embrace
green living,
high qualifications,
low unemployment,
and a fabulous new Scottish Parliament,
taste the wonderful varied flavours and smile.
You've made your first SCOTLAND!

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Tom Fleming recites the poem
Audio
Victoria Joffe reads Amy Linekar's passage
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