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The election of the third First Minister since 1999 has ensured centre stage for the doings of the Scottish parliament this week. The political implications of this are well covered by Jim Lynch. This column merely notes that the election of a third First Minister  in just over two years marks a shaky start for the Parliament which came into being nearly three hundred years after The Three Estates, the old Scottish Parliament, voted to abolish Scottish Independence and join an incorporating Union with England. Democracy as we know it today didn't exist in 1707 and bribery allied to the threat of an English invasion carried the vote against the wishes of the common folk of Scotland. Our National Bard, Robert Burns, well summed up the situation -
                                "But, pith and power, till my last hour,
                                     I'll mak this declaration, -
                                 We're bought and sold for English gold -
                                     Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!"
"There is an end of an auld sang" is the memorable quote by the Earl of Seaforth, the Scottish Chancellor, when signing the Act of Union in the last Scottish Parliament in 1707. But on 12th May 1999 there was the start of a new sang when Dr Winifred M Ewing, as the oldest MSP, chaired the revived, devolved Scottish Parliament and declared - "The Scottish Parliament adjourned on 25th March 1707 is hereby reconvened." Regardless of Political Party this column hopes that all MPSs enjoy this weeks recipe, a delicious cross between a cake and a biscuit - Parlies Scottish Parliament Cakes and that real Independence will follow soon.
Ingredients : 8 oz flour; 4 oz butter or margerine; 2 oz caster sugar; 2 tablespoons golden syrup or black treacle; 1 teaspoon ground ginger ( optional ); 1 large egg
Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the flour, egg and syrup ( together with the ginger, if required). Beat well. Drop dessertspoonfuls on to a greased baking tray leaving room for them to expand. Set oven to 350 deg F or Mark 4 and bake for 15-20 minutes until light golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool.

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