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Scottish Parliament opening Thursday, 1 July, 1999, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Salmond 'heralds new chapter'
Alex Salmond
Mr Salmond welcomed the "rebirth" of the parliament
Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond has promised that the opening of the Scottish Parliament "is not the end of Scotland's journey".

This is his full address to the ceremony in Parliament Hall:

"We are met today in this great Parliament Hall to herald a new chapter in Scotland's story - the rebirth of the Scots Parliament after 300 years.

"Today, even as we celebrate, we remember people of all political parties who devoted themselves to achieving self-government for Scotland, but who never lived to see this day.

"Our celebration is in part a dedication to their commitment.

"But in a greater sense, this day - of all days - is about looking forwards.

"Our new parliament represents the future. It will become the democratic heartbeat of the nation, charged with infusing new blood and new life into Scotland's nationhood in all of its diversity.

"New life for our schools, our hospitals, our homes, new life for our precious environment. New life for Scotland and all of her people.

Alex Salmond
Salmond: "Looking forward"
"As Scots parliamentarians, that is the responsibility we hold in trust, and we should embrace it with confidence and hope.

"We should even welcome criticism. In the auld Scots parliament, the people used to fling chuckie stanes at their representatives.

"This didn't mean that they thought them unnecessary - just that they wanted to keep them in their place! And the same people rioted when they lost their Parliament.

"In 1707, in this very hall, a vital element of Scots nationhood was lost - but not forever.

"We are indeed fortunate to be the finders and the keepers of that element, lighting a new beginning for our country at the onset of a new Millennium.

"For many of us, this is not the end of Scotland's journey. We aspire to return Scotland to the international community on the basis of equality among nations.

"However, this Parliament has been reconvened in the name of the people, and we pledge that all of our efforts will be on their behalf, and that history will judge this day - the first of July 1999 - as the day when the people reclaimed ownership over the future of our country of Scotland."

White roses

SNP MSPs are each wearing the "little white rose of Scotland" on their lapels, after the Hugh MacDiarmid poem of the same name.

The poem goes:

The rose of all the world is not for me
I want from my part only the little white rose of Scotland
That smells sharp and sweet
And breaks the heart

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Alex Salmond: "Our new parliament represents the future"
See also:

01 Jul 99 | Scottish Parliament opening
01 Jul 99 | Scottish Parliament opening
01 Jul 99 | Scottish Parliament opening
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