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EDITIONS
Scottish Parliament opening Thursday, 1 July, 1999, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Wallace's tribute to people of Scotland
Jim Wallace
Jim Wallace praised the "will of the Scottish nation"
Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader said the new parliament must form a partnership with its people - a people who had chosen a new political destiny.

Here is the full text of his address in Parliament Hall before the official opening:

"During one of the many debates we had in the House of Commons on the Scotland Bill, Michael Ancram observed that I was incapable of making a speech on Home Rule without mentioning W.E.Gladstone.

Now, on this day of all days, why break a good habit?

Because it was Gladstone in 1879 who claimed that the man who brought Home Rule to Scotland would 'confer a blessing upon his country'.

One hundred and twenty years later, Home Rule has now been won.

It has been achieved not by the work of only one man or one woman, although many have made outstanding individual contributions along the way.

Political settlement

But it has been done by the will of a nation, ready to accept the challenge of a new political settlement, hand in hand with a vision of a better Scotland.

And it is the people of Scotland in the constitutional convention and then in the referendum who have created our new democracy.

And it is their parliament - the people's parliament not the politicians' - which will be opened today.

As the people's representatives we should never forget the hopes kindled by this historic opportunity.

Those of us who attended yesterday, the inauguration of the Scottish Youth Parliament, and who see today the faces of so many children taking part in our celebrations, will realise these hopes are greatest among Scotland's young people.

We must rise to their challenge, harnessing their talents, their ideas and their energy.

Our parliament must be open and inclusive - willing to consult and willing to listen.

Scotland's rich diversity

It must recognise and celebrate Scotland's rich diversity - islands, highlands, lowlands. Urban and rural. People old and young from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

It must be our responsibility as members of the Scottish Parliament to make the parliament succeed for all of Scotland, for the whole nation.

Working together we can achieve much but for all of us the most important partnership to be forged in this new parliament will be our partnership with the people of Scotland.

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Jim Wallace: "Scottish Home Rule has now been won"
See also:

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