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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Queen Holyrood invite 'incorrect'
Edwin Morgan
Edwin Morgan will have his poem read out in the chamber
Scotland's national poet has said it was wrong to ask the Queen to formally open the new Scottish Parliament.

Edwin Morgan, 84, made the call despite the fact that one of his poems will be read before Her Majesty during Saturday's ceremony.

He described the Royal Family as "dysfunctional" and said the opening ceremony should be "a Scottish occasion".

Playwright Liz Lochhead will read his poem entitiled Open the Doors!

Mr Morgan, who will watch the ceremony at home, said: "I think it was probably incorrect to invite her.

I think it's something that should have been a more Scottish occasion
Edwin Morgan
"It seems to me this is an occasion which is not English and not really monarchical.

"Although she'll be welcome, I'm quite sure she'll enjoy herself very much. I think it's something that should have been a more Scottish occasion."

The parliament's Presiding Officer George Reid said Mr Morgan was entitled to air his views.

Mr Reid said: "What kind of country do we live in if an 84-year-old can't express his views?

Honest opinion

"He's perfectly entitled to his opinion and it's honestly expressed and you can see his spirit just shines through."

Mr Morgan has also backed calls for an independent Scotland to be declared from Calton Hill.

A parliament spokesman said: "Like everyone else in Scotland he is entitled to his own opinion. But just as a Man's A Man was a highlight of 1999, we think Mr Morgan's challenging poem will be equally popular."

Nicola Benedetti
Young Musician of the Year Nicola Benedetti will play at the ceremony

The royal ceremony on 9 October will involve Sir Sean Connery and more than 1,000 guests as well as entertainment from BBC Young Musician of the Year 2004 violinist, Nicola Benedetti.

But the grand event has competition from a party up the road to celebrate The Declaration of Calton Hill.

It is a call for independence organised by the Scottish Socialist Party.

The 450-word declaration calls for Scotland to be freed from the "hierarchical and anti-democratic institutions of the British state" and declares: "We believe the right to self-determination is an inherent right, and not a favour to be granted ...by the Crown."

Famous writers Irvine Welsh, Alasdair Gray, James Kelman and Iain M Banks have joined with actor Bill Paterson and director Peter Mullan to back the declaration of independence.

Now, with Mr Morgan's backing, the party on Calton Hill may have more big names behind it.

Singer Eddi Reader, who is due to perform at the official opening, expressed interest in attending both events.

She said: "I am of the left ...maybe I could sing at both events."


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