October 13, 2004

scottish parliament

The finally moved into the new one on Saturday, and I watched it on the telly (on account of not being in Edinburgh personally to see it happen). Here is what the Guardian had to say about it.

Wow. What a massive symbolism fest! Good symbolism mostly. Like the Queen turning up to wish them the best (which is pretty good natured really). Though what posessed her to wear a pink cushion I have no idea. The original crown of Scotland leading the procession. The new, new, *new* building which they ended up in. The procession down from the old castle to the new parliament down the royal mile. The beautiful gaelic singing. The colonels with bows and arrows escorting the Earl of Angus (who is apparently the crown looking-after person and has been since Duncan or some such). Facinating.

Facinating also to note that the Scots used to refer to their monarch as the Queen or King of Scots - rather than the English habit of referring to them as the Queen or King of land. Also that the Scots haven't technically had an Elizabeth before so Liz should actually be called Elizabeth, Queen of Scots while she's over the border. Certainly makes her sound more interesting. Nice to note that she uses a different standard while there (Scots Lions instead of the English ones).

And just plain lovely to hear British people making speaches that actually mean something and invoke feelings. And lots and *lots* of them were obviously joyous to have a local parliament building to be local politicians in. Long may it continued - and I hope for their sake it goes well. Particularly interesting was the First Minister's speach, which was so full of hope that it made me cry. He genuinely seemed to be attempting to call into being a hopeful future and to set the new Parliament up to be a leading light in Scottish affairs and as a guide for the Scots to find solutions to their own problems. It reminded me of the hopefullness New Zealand occassionally shows signs of, and I was moved to see another small country attempting to define itself into the future.

The gaelic singing left me in absolutely no doubt that gaelic culture is profoundly different from English culture. This article indicates some of the differences, including a totally different approach to rhythm (apologies for the horrible background). Even after 300 years of living under the same government and in the same part of the world. It was almost like seeing beneath the English covers of Britain into a foreign land. A land I'd like to see more of, and should be cherished by anyone who visits the area.

Posted by carla at October 13, 2004 04:04 AM
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