True allegiance

The six newly elected SSP MSPs made a considerable impact with their republican protests against the oath of allegiance when they were sworn in at Holyrood on May 7. Tommy Sheridan read a short statement: "I and my party colleagues were elected on a clear and honest commitment to an independent socialist Scotland, a socialist republic, a Scotland of citizens, not a Scotland of subjects. We will continue to fight for such a Scotland." He was followed by Colin Fox, MSP for Lothians, who sang Robert Burns's 'A man's a man for a' that', before presiding officer Sir David Steel called out: "I'm sorry, there's no singing in parliament. Order ..." and had the microphone switched off. Rosie Kane, Glasgow's second SSP representative in Holyrood, had written, "My oath is to the people" on the palm of her hand, which she held up as she took the affirmation. Not wishing to be outdone, Green Party and SNP members thought it wise to stress their own commitment to the people's sovereignty. Robin Harper declared: "On behalf of the Scottish Green Party I wish to affirm that our priority will be to serve the people of Scotland who are sovereign in this land", while SNP leader John Swinney felt obliged to state: "On behalf of my colleagues can I confirm the prime loyalty of the Scottish National Party is to the people of Scotland, in the constitutional tradition of the sovereignty of the people", before he went on to take the oath. Members are obliged to swear ("so help me god") or affirm that they "will be faithful and bear true allegiance to her majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law" before being allowed to represent their working class voters. Alan Fox * SSP jumps from one to six * More than its parts * Mark Steele's beacon