Glasgow 2014: Commonwealth Games begin at Celtic Park

 

Tartan-clad performers, spinning oversized Tunnock's tea cakes and a giant kilt were among the highlights at a feel-good Commonwealth Games 2014 opening ceremony on Wednesday night.

The Queen officially opened the games before a 40,000-strong crowd in Glasgow's Celtic Park with millions more expected to watch on television.

Thousands of athletes from 71 nations and territories took part.

They entered the stadium after the live show, which had a cast of around 2,000.

The Queen declared the Games open by reading her own message from inside the Commonwealth baton.

TV viewing figures across the UK peaked at 9.42m with an average of 7.6m viewers watching the ceremony. That compared to a peak of 27.3m for the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.

Adventurer Mark Beaumont landed on the city's river Clyde in a seaplane carrying the baton to Celtic Park, having tracked its progress across the Commonwealth on a 288-day journey spanning almost 120,000 miles.

Inside the stadium, the baton was transferred between a group of volunteers who have helped children around Scotland find their potential through sport.

Sir Chris Hoy carried it on its final stage to Commonwealth Games Federation president Prince Imran of Malaysia, who struggled briefly to open the container and remove the message to hand to the Queen.

Her Majesty then spoke of the "shared ideals and ambitions" of the Commonwealth and highlighted the "bonds that unite" the 71 nations and territories.

"The baton relay represents a calling together of people from every part of the Commonwealth and serves as a reminder of our shared ideals and ambitions as a diverse, resourceful and cohesive family.

"And now, that baton has arrived here in Glasgow, a city renowned for its dynamic cultural and sporting achievements and for the warmth of its people, for this opening ceremony of the Friendly Games."

The Queen, in her role as head of the Commonwealth, then sent her best wishes to the competing athletes

Subo
Dancers
Rod Stewart

Events inside the stadium were shown to the assembled guests and crowd on Europe's largest LED screen.

The giant display, which stands across the whole of the stadium's South Stand, is almost 100 metres long, 11 metres high and weighs 38 tonnes.

Other adaptations to the venue include a specially-created stage floor covering the entire pitch and a multi-coloured walkway specifically designed for the athlete's parade.

Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor opened proceedings with a pre-recorded video message, before Glaswegian comedian Karen Dunbar struck up an elaborate song and dance number celebrating Scotland, accompanied by Torchwood star John Barrowman.

The routine welcomed visitors from across the Commonwealth to Glasgow and included larger-than-life representations of famous Scots inventions, landmarks, cultural heroes and Scottish history.

The Queen The Games were officially opened by The Queen

Rod Stewart was joined on stage by Bishopbriggs singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald alongside hundreds of ordinary Glasgow citizens to perform a version of his classic song Rhythm of My Heart.

Later in the ceremony, dancers from Scottish Ballet performed a routine to an acoustic version of The Proclaimers hit I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles).

Pipe band

The Scottish Regiment Pipe Band arrived in the stadium to accompany Susan Boyle performing the Paul McCartney and Wings song Mull of Kintyre, as the Red Arrows performed a flypast over the city to signal the arrival of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

India, the hosts of the previous Games in Delhi in 2010, were the first team to enter the arena and received a warm welcome.

The remainder of the competing nations arrived according to geographical region, led by a Scots representative wearing tweeds and walking a Scottie terrier bedecked in a jacket bearing the name of each country.

The England team were met by loud cheers from the crowd as the European nations entered the stadium, Northern Ireland were led by cyclist Martyn Irvine and the Wales team sported black Harrington-style jackets with tartan lining.

The loudest reception of the night was reserved for the host nation Scotland, who paraded into Celtic Park last, according to Games tradition, accompanied by The Shamen's hit Move Any Mountain.

Sir Chris Hoy joined Scottish actors Ewan McGregor, who was on screen, and James McAvoy in an unprecedented appeal for donations to Unicef's Children of the Commonwealth Fund.

The charity said initial figures showed that more than £3.1m had already been raised to help young people across the nations.

Unicef said more than 500,000 people in the UK donated by text within an hour of seeing the appeal.

Towards the end of the ceremony a message was delivered live from the International Space Station to the Commonwealth nations, and Scots musician Nicola Benedetti performed a violin solo as the Games Federation flag was raised.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond paid tribute to the victims of the crashed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, leading a silence before welcoming the participating nations to the Games in English and Gaelic.

The sentiments were echoed by Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson and Malaysia's Prince Imran, who both encouraged and promoted a spirit of competitiveness and friendship.

Glasgow band Primal Scream closed proceedings as fireworks went off all across the city.

Temperatures in Glasgow earlier reached 25 degrees C, officially the hottest day in Scotland this year.

The Games will feature 17 sports across 11 days of competition, beginning on Thursday.

The closing ceremony will take place at Hampden Park on the south side of the city, which has been transformed into an athletics venue, on 3 August.

 

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  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 410.

    Enjoyed watching the show. Felt really proud being part of this wonderful celebration. So much vibrant positive energy. Full of colour, passion and a wonderfully relaxed friendly atmosphere. For a nation of just over 5 million people, this is a fantastic achievement. Well done, Glasgow!

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 200.

    The ceremony was a fantastic celebration of a fantastic little nation who gets to host an enormous event. Last night made me the proudest Scot alive. Such a passionate colourful and entertaining opening ceremony that will never be easily matched by anyone else. Celtic park and Scotland at their best.

  • rate this
    +19

    Comment number 47.

    For me the two Highlights of the Opening Ceremony were:

    1. Billy's story about How Glasgow stood up for Mandela whilst the UK govt supported apartheid and

    2. Nicola Benedetti playing The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond.

    Just magical. Proud to be a Weegie this morning :D

  • rate this
    +20

    Comment number 23.

    Was I watching a different opening ceremony? It was OK at best. Really liked the Scottie dogs - nice touch. I am looking forward to the sport - good luck everyone taking part

  • rate this
    +24

    Comment number 11.

    Well done Glasgow. Full of self deprecating humour and loved the scotty dogs. Off to work with a spring in my step and humming away to memory of Rod Stewart's great performance in silver suit. Think I'll have a Tunnock's tea cake for elevenses today.

 

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  10.  
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    alistair darling

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  11.  
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    "For months we have been saying that the real way to change is not to separate off Scotland but to have a stronger Scottish Parliament.

    Gordon Brown

    "Yes we need change but I think people are going to come to the conclusion what they want is the Scottish Parliament as part of the UK."

     
  12.  
    11:36: No answers from economists Robert Peston Economics editor

    Robert Peston warns Scottish voters in his blog that economists have no simple answer about how they should vote.

    "Here is the bad news if you haven't made up your mind whether to vote for Scotland to become independent - economic analysis cannot give you the answer.

    "Scotland" rock

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  13.  
    11:31: Brown and Darling in Clydebank

    Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Better Together leader Alistair Darling are speaking to activists in Clydebank.

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    "Because our argument that Scotland is better and stronger as part of the UK is an argument that is finding more and more support from the quiet majority in Scotland. That is why I believe we will win on Thursday."

     
  14.  
    talkingpoint@bbc.co.uk 11:23: Get involved

    James Adams emails: It seems that we're now being offered a choice between Devo-max (awful name) and Independence lite. Both sides offering greater autonomy within a shared monetary, economic and trading union. Both promises require the backing of the UK government to work.

    Iain Steven, a small business owner, emails: A pledge, a vow, a Promise even a Contract, even signed by the political masters, BEWARE, even though they are the three party leaders, it is completely worthless. They are here representing the NO Campaign, NOT their parties.

    Tony and Oonagh Godfrey email: We are weary of the Murdoch inspired soundbites of the Yes campaign.eg - all is the fault of Westminster parliament or the views of business leaders who oppose Salmond's views are a set up by Cameron... We in England have no say in the matter. Surely in an unstable world we need to unite and not to return to a narrow nationalism.

     
  15.  
    11:15: Money talks Colletta Smith BBC Scotland Economics Correspondent

    BBC Scotland's economics correspondent Colletta Smith looks at what new powers are being promised to Scotland whether there is a Yes or No vote.

    Wake Up To Money can be downloaded here.

     
  16.  
    11:01: Dundee United chairman backs 'Yes'

    Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson has given his backing for a 'Yes' vote on Thursday.

    Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson

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    He added: "A 'Yes' vote will allow Scotland to maximise its potential on the world stage.

    "One of our biggest exports and assets has been our people from all walks of life, social and political background - and one of the greatest challenges we face is to grow job opportunities so more of our brightest youngsters stay and work here in Scotland.

    "There is no one better placed to make the best of Scotland than the people of Scotland and no amount of negativity from the 'No' campaign or media can change that."

     
  17.  
    10:54: John Pienaar round up

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  18.  
    10:36: More Curran

    "Compare that [the pro-Union offer] with the revelations we've had today about funding threats to the NHS - policies and issues and decisions that the SNP has tried to keep secret during this campaign," she added.

    "We have got a campaign of lies from the SNP who are trying to tell us that the NHS is under threat when in fact it is under threat from the SNP administration."

     
  19.  
    10:35: 'Campaign of lies'

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    margaret curran

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  20.  
    Text 80295 10:33: Get involved

    Jim, Dunkeld: I run a small business, Scotland is made up of 70% small businesses, I had the self belief and confidence. I feel if there's a "Yes" vote it will bring self belief and confidence, it will encourage youngsters to go into business.

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  21.  
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    "I ask the people of Scotland to lead that change of our whole British constitution."

     
  22.  
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  23.  
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    Front pages 16 September

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  29.  
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    Alex Salmond media scrum

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  30.  
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    There probably aren't that many people out there who are wholly undecided in the sense that they really are not clear at all whether they are going to vote 'Yes' or 'No'.

    Really, the battle is not so much about getting people who have no idea at all - there aren't too many of those - but rather those people who have got an inclination but they're still wavering. It's to persuade those people to go in one direction or the other.

     
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    Irene, Brighton. What happens if it's a dead heat? Pistols at dawn with Salmond and Cameron? That I would pay good money to see!

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    Larissa, Fife: I feel we are guinea pigs in Mr Salmond's experiment. An experiment that has so many extraneous variables that it is not safe to run.

    John, Stirling: Surely what is now being offered should have been there BEFORE polling started? Almost 25% of electorate have already voted.

     
  32.  
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  33.  
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  34.  
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  35.  
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  36.  
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    First Minister Alex Salmond is live on Good Morning Scotland.

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  37.  
    08:28: View from the Borders

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    Bob Burgess, deputy editor of local newspaper the Southern Reporter, said the question of boundaries and currency had been among the key issues for people in the area.

    He told Gary Robertson: "We have had to expand our letters pages quite dramatically."

     
  38.  
    08:20: Morning Call Louise White Presenter, Morning Call

    Coming up, have you seen or heard anything specific which has helped you decide how you are going to vote in the referendum?

    From the economy to health, from business to currency, let's have your questions and your comments.

    Louise White

    Lines are open now - call 0500 929500 text 80295 or email morningcallscotland@bbc.co.uk

     
  39.  
    08:11: Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

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  40.  
    08:10: Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

    Darling struggling to explain how pro union parties can "guarantee" powers other than "will be an awful lot quicker" than independence.

     
  41.  
    08:06: Salmond coming up...

    First Minister Alex Salmond will be speaking to Good Morning Scotland after 08:30.

    You can listen to the programme at the top of this page.

     
  42.  
    08:05: 'Energised and divided'

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    yes/no
     
  43.  
    08:04: More Darling

    Mr Darling told BBC Scotland: "You can have a stronger, more secure Scottish Parliament.

    "Why on earth break up the entire thing? If we vote to leave, if it all goes wrong, we can't go back."

     
  44.  
    08:03: Guardian poll

    More than six out of 10 people in England and Wales believe the UK government should not enter into a currency union with an independent Scotland, according to a poll in the Guardian.

    Scottish notes

    The poll also finds that 56% of those who responded would be "saddened" if Scotland votes to be independent.

     
  45.  
    07:55: 'One-party state'

    Labour MP Douglas Alexander has dismissed Yes campaign claims that independence is the only way to get the government Scotland votes for.

    On BBC Breakfast he said: "I've got two governments that I didn't vote for and didn't support. I've got a Scottish National Party government in Edinburgh and I've got a Conservative-Liberal government in Westminster. So the only way you always get the government you vote for is in a one-party state and I don't think anybody is recommending that."

     
  46.  
    07:53: Darling on the NHS

    Alistair Darling, campaign leader of Better Together, has been speaking about the NHS this morning.

    He told Good Morning Scotland: "What we are saying is if we vote No, work will start on Friday morning on increased powers, particularly to raise additional funds.

    Alistair Darling

    "You can have a stronger more secure health service if we vote No.

    "The Scottish Parliament has the power to spend money, it will have the power to raise additional money, it can borrow more."

     
  47.  
    07:51: 'Massive opportunity'

    Ms Sturgeon added: "They [the pro-Union parties] are treating voters in Scotland with contempt."

    Asked if a "Yes" vote guarantees "better lives" for people in Scotland, she replied: "Independence is not a magic wand, but it is a massive opportunity.

    "We can make life better, not overnight, but over time."

     
  48.  
    07:49: Sturgeon: 'No guarantees'

    Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been responding to the offer of new powers put forward by the pro-Union parties.

    Nicola Sturgeon

    Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Ms Sturgeon said: "If there was a serious intention to deliver more powers, why hasn't that happened before now?

    "Tory MPs, including Christopher Chope, have already said they would block more powers. If we vote No, there are no guarantees at all."

     
  49.  
    07:39: 'Faster change'

    Asked if the move smacks of panic, Mr Alexander told BBC Breakfast: "I don't think there's any embarrassment about placing policies on the front page of papers with just days two go.

    "I think the 'Yes' campaign are struggling. They had an avalanche of facts engulfed in assertions last week when it was announced every major Scottish bank would move their registered office to London.

    "The economic risks suddenly became very real last week, and at the same time we are offering what I believe most of us here in Scotland want which is faster, safer and better change."

     
  50.  
    07:35: More Alexander

    "That pledge, that vow that we can have faster, safer, better change is actually a vision around which Scotland can unite," he adds.

     
  51.  
    07:34: 'Best of both worlds'

    Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander has denied the powers pledge made by the pro-Union parties has come too late in the referendum debate.

    douglas alexander

    Mr Alexander told the BBC: "Here in Scotland, we have been talking about these powers for many months. What we are saying today is we can have the best of both worlds. We can have a stronger Scottish parliament but with the strength, stability and security of the United Kingdom."

     
  52.  
    Text 80295 07:34: Your views

    Frank, Helensburgh: The party leaders DO NOT have the powers to give away extra powers to the Scots

    J S Crieff: Vote no for stability not this daft idea of independence.

     
  53.  
    07:32: Yes response

    The Yes campaign claims the offer of further devolution signed up to by the leaders of all three main Westminster parties would give Scotland the power to raise only 30% of its taxes.

     
  54.  
    07:24: SNP chief executive Peter Murrell

    tweets: Promises Promises #Rattled

    Cameron and Miliband
     
  55.  
    07:19: Too late? Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    The problem all along, and this is what people would tell you privately in the "No" campaign, is that there is a very sharp argument between independence and all the risks it brings and staying with the UK.

    What they didn't do early enough, some of them would say, is put forward the alternative. They came up with a phrase which they used back in June when they said '"No" doesn't mean no change'. But they weren't clear what the change would actually be.

    Now they are emphasising it, now it's on the front page of a tabloid and some people think perhaps they've left this a little bit too late. And certainly it's quite difficult if you're using complicated arguments to get through to people who are first time voters, 16-year-olds, who have never voted in their life before.

     
  56.  
    Email: talkingpoint@bbc.co.uk 07:15: Get involved

    Everybody's talking about it...

    We want to hear your thoughts on the referendum itself, and the two campaigns. Tweet us using #bbcindyref, email us here or text 80295.

    If you are texting, don't forget to include your name and where you come from.

     
  57.  
    07:09: Media village Emma Ailes BBC Scotland

    With the referendum just two days away, the world's media is intensifying its gaze on Scotland.

    Media village

    At the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, preparations are under way to host hundreds of journalists and news crews from around the globe.

    A broadcast village with flood lights and scaffolding two storeys high has been erected in the grounds around Holyrood. From here, reporters will broadcast live.

     
  58.  
    06:57: 'Adds intensity'

    Calum Kerr, of Yes Scotland Borders, told Good Morning Scotland: "Bit by bit I have become massively involved. It's people that have never been interested in politics, they see a genuine opportunity for change.

    "It's a different challenge here, the proximity of the border adds an intensity.

    "A girl said we rely on England - the Morrisons is just across the border. You will still be able to go there."

     
  59.  
    06:49: On the campaign trail

    Scotland's desire for political and economic change has been heard and will be delivered, Ed Miliband will promise today.

    The Labour leader will insist a "vote for 'No' is a vote for change".

    Meanwhile, rival campaigners will argue independence would bring either a "golden opportunity" or "separation and risk".

    With just 48 hours until voters go to the polls, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Finance Secretary John Swinney will be talking to apprentices in Renfrew.

    Liberal Democrat MPs Charles Kennedy and Danny Alexander will be joined by MSP Willie Rennie to highlight "the positive things that Scotland and the UK have achieved together".

    Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander will be campaigning in Edinburgh's financial district.

     
  60.  
    06:42: Border line

    Good Morning Scotland has been speaking to campaigners in the Scottish Borders on both sides of the independence debate.

    Michelle Ballantye, for Better Together, told BBC Scotland: "I think it's a bit of a nonsense we need to be independent to be fairer.

    "I think the Borders has a strong sense of being part of the UK. Our sense of connection is very strong."

     
  61.  
    06:25: Leaders pledge more powers

    The leaders of the three main Westminster parties have signed a pledge to devolve more powers to Scotland if there's a No vote.

    The pledge has been signed by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg and appears on the front of the Daily Record newspaper.

    Daily Record

    It includes promises of "extensive new powers" for the Scottish Parliament.

    Prime Minister David Cameron has denied the move is a panic measure.

    He said: "I always said right from the start of this campaign, if Scotland voted 'No' to separation, the rest of the United Kingdom would say 'Yes' to further devolution.

    david cameron, ed miliband and nick clegg

    "If Scotland wants more devolution - and I think Scotland should have more devolution - you have to answer the prior question 'Do you want to stay in the United Kingdom?'

    "And of course that wasn't just my view; that was the view of the leaders of other United Kingdom parties who all thought it was important. Let's settle the question of separation and then look at devolution."

     
  62.  
    06:13: Good Morning Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Good morning and welcome to Referendum Live, your minute-by-minute guide to all today's news, comment and analysis from both sides of the campaign.

    With just two full days of campaigning left, and with the polls so close, the stakes couldn't be higher.

     

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