The Scottish Socialist Party Group in the Scottish Parliament met at the end of the last session of the Parliament to consider what attitude our MSP’s should take to the official opening of the new Parliament by the Queen on October 9 this year.

Our group decided unanimously to boycott the event. We believe that there is a grotesque contradiction in celebrating the opening of a lavishly expensive parliament building which does not have the power to prevent Scotland being dragged into murderous wars, or to rid our country of the monstrosity of nuclear weapons, or to use our wealth to banish poverty and homelessness, or to open our doors to those fleeing persecution and famine.

As a party which passionately strives to build a more equal society, we have no wish to parade behind a feudal figurehead who symbolises elitism, privilege and deference.

Instead of participating in a royal pantomime, the SSP group will be asking individuals and organisations who wish to see a genuinely free Scottish republic to participate in an alternative ceremony, on the symbolic Calton Hill site, on October 9th.

The focal point of the event will be a signing ceremony of a declaration in support of the call for full democracy for Scotland in the form of a free, independent republic answerable only to the people of Scotland; The Declaration of Calton Hill.

Although this event has been initiated by the six Scottish Socialist MSPs, we hope to broaden it out and involve MSPs and councillors from other political parties – including those who sit as independents – and from nonparty groups including anti-war, anti-nuclear, anti-racist and antipoverty campaigns. We would also encourage the general public to attend this event.

Our immediate intention is to form an ad-hoc organising committee to move the plans forward and to draw up a Declaration of Calton Hill.

We would welcome your participation in what will be an historic occasion.

Tommy Sheridan MSP

(On behalf of the Scottish Parliament SSP Group)