“We give you our consent to govern, don’t pocket it and ride away.”

What do the people want of the place? They want it to be filled with thinking
persons as open and adventurous as its architecture.
A nest of fearties is what they do not want.
A symposium of procrastinators is what they do not want.
A phalanx of forelock-tuggers is what they do not want.
And perhaps above all the droopy mantra of ‘it wizny me’ is what they do not
Dear friends, dear lawgivers, dear parliamentarians, you are picking up a thread of
pride and self-esteem that has been almost but not quite, oh no not quite,
not ever broken or forgotten.
When you convene you will be reconvening, with a sense of not wholly the power,
not yet wholly the power, but a good sense of what was once in the honour
of your grasp.
All right. Forget, or don’t forget, the past. Trumpets and robes are fine, but in the
present and the future you will need something more.
What is it? We, the people, cannot tell you yet, but you will know about it when
we do tell you.
We give you our consent to govern, don’t pocket it and ride away.
We give you our deepest dearest wish to govern well, don’t say we have no
mandate to be so bold.
We give you this great building, don’t let your work and hope be other than great
when you enter and begin.
So now begin. Open the doors and begin.

From For the Opening of the Scottish Parliament, 9 October 2004 by Edwin Morgan

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3 replies »

  1. I never encountered this speech yet. I am copying it (if I may), translating it in to my mother lnguage (Swiss German) and send it to where our own cantonal and national governments will see it….
    It’s the fact of the matter inb a nutshell!
    Elisabeth Sidler, Kifrkwall

    • It’s not the complete poem. You can find the whole poem if you click on the link to The Scottish Poetry Library. (Fiona G)

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