Margo

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Oh, Margo…not just a light but a beacon in our lives. It’s actually quite difficult to type this, I feel quite exhausted. What a woman! What a Scot! My own memories are coloured by how proud I was just to spend time with her and to work with her.

She was perceptive and insightful and whatever her feelings of disdain for the opinions of others, her humanity was her strongest suit. Margo could converse with anyone.

We returned to the office one day after lunch and the joiner was there fixing a broken door. She engaged him in conversation about Scotland for an hour or so before the poor guy go to leave. We flew from Berlin to Brussels once and she sat beside what turned out to be a German MEP. By the time we landed, she had found out how he fiddled his expenses and that despite the wife waving goodbye on the ground, he had a mistress in Brussels!

Irrepressible, unstoppable, committed, humane and unforgettable. She would phone me after a programme to challenge something I said or to agree and I only ever treated her every word with respect. She represents something dignified and admirable about working class Scots and I always felt an emotion closer to love than respect for her. She will be a symbol now for campaign. How she would have loved to be there on September 19.

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28 thoughts on “Margo

  1. So sad to hear of the untimely death of anyone but Margo’s was so unexpected. She was an incredible lady who held strong views and was not afraid to voice them. She will be missed and, as Derek said, she won’t see 19 September when we will be celebrating a Yes victory. I hope everyone will spare a thought for Margo on that day – a day she fought so hard for throughout her political life.

  2. Lets do it for Margo to wake up to a No vote and more years of this unfare Union is unthinkable

  3. I am not ashamed today to say I have shed some tears today ,Margo was such a special lady and a great Scot .How sad she did not get to see the result on Sept 19th

  4. Margo was an amazing woman. She spoke our language and sometimes she didn’t need words at all – the expression on her face alone spoke volumes. Such a sad loss

  5. I simply don’t have the words.

    A great hearted lady that will be very sorely missed.

  6. Very sad news to hear Margo is gone, My thoughts are with Jim and the family.

    You are very lucky to have met her Derek, I wish I had. I did hear her speak on a couple of occasions and found her an inspiration.

    She will be sadly missed, but if I gauge the mood correctly her passing has just galvanised those of us striving for an independent Scotland not to fail her. We will win this referendum. We will win it for Margo MacDonald. In her memory.

    At a time like this I think Margo would have said something like this:

    “Dry your eyes. Roll up your sleeves and get on with the job. There’s a country to win!”

    Aye, Margo, I will.

    I’ll “tak’ a cup o’ kindness for auld lang syne” the nicht and raise my glass to you.

  7. Margaret Brogan

    She was indefatigible.
    I know the word has been abused in the past, but she was.
    I am so sad for her family and friends, but also for the rest of us.

  8. If anyone should have been here to see Scotland vote to reclaim its independence, it was Margo. We’ve lost some great people of late, but Margo was something else. We’ve lost too many, in fact. We have to do it in September, we just have to. No second chances, we do it this time.

  9. An Duine Gruamach

    Very sad news. Every time a politician dies, there are always tributes, and you’d get the impression that everyone loved the departed most dearly, but with Margo it probably is genuinely true – all the more remarkable because she could be a very divisive person. She took no shit from anyone. I think she was something that most politicians wish they could be – fearless, honest, deeply intelligent and gifted with a genuine popular resonance that no PPE course or spad placement can teach. She is truly, genuinely irreplaceable in Scottish politics.
    I’m glad to hear that Alex Salmond visited her at her home before heading off to the States this week. I think they must have known that her end was near, and by all accounts the hatchets between them were buried.
    Rest in peace, comrade – we’ll try our damnedest to finish off the work you’ve inspired so many to take up.

  10. RIP to Margo MacDonald. A political giant of the SNP, and as an Independent in the Scottish Parliament. Margo made a massive contribution to the Independence movement for decades. I am very sorry she cannot now vote in the referendum. Margo will never be forgotten.

  11. So sad. She worked tirelessly all her life for something she came so close to seeing achieved (hopefully) and now she won’t be here to celebrate the result. Her family must be devastated, yet proud too of the part she played in Scotland’s story.

  12. Rest in peace Margo, a colossus of Scottish politics, and a wonderful human being, with the emphasis on human. A lovely woman, she will be sorely missed, and it’s such a shame that she left us so soon before the referendum she fought so hard towards. Just turned 60, I thought I was too old for tears, but Margo’s death proved me wrong there. We will not forget you, and we must win this, we must.

  13. The reaction in this household when we all heard the news was stunned silence and intense sadness. Everyone in the independence movement will feel a profound sense of loss at her passing – but nothing to what her family must be feeling. She will be greatly missed but especially at the celebrations of our independence when that day comes. That day will be our tribute to her and the others that we have lost before their time.

  14. Margo’s early death seems so unfair. She, of all people, should be there with us on the 18th of September. She will be a sad loss to Scotland and her people but our thoughts for now are with her family and close friends.

  15. cynicalHighlander

    A sad sad day even without ever meeting her she brings out emotions which shows her quality, RIP.

  16. I was so sad and shocked to hear of Margo’s death this afternoon and, like Stuart, I shed a tear or two. She was such a feisty fighter for everyone in Scotland. She will be sorely missed, not just by her family and friends but, by the whole of Scotland no matter what your political leanings. It is so sad that she has gone before the YES vote for which she, and many others have, strived for. May her family be comforted by the many sincere tributes paid to her. RIP Margo.

  17. I loved listening to her speak, though I only ever heard her on the radio or when she was on tv.

    She was my idea of a Scot.

    It’s a sad day.

    Let’s be careful here though; I feel that Margo, though a woman I only knew via the media, would not want a ‘Let’s do it for Margo’ style campaign.

    Let’s remember her passion for a left-wing, independent Scotland.

  18. Farewell and thank you Margo. You brought a much needed human dimension into modern politics. You may have left us but I hope your lasting energy will push us over the finish line in September to win the Scotland you dreamed of.

  19. Away an bile yer heid.Only Margo could say that in a live TV debate.RIP Margo lang may her lum reek.

  20. It’s so sad that she won’t be here to share the celebrations in September, save in spirit.

    It must have been incredibly hard for Jim Sillars to have had to be out on the campaign trail, with Margo being as ill as she was, but I can’t imagine she would have had it any other way.

  21. Margo showed us how to conduct ourselves in this campaign – with humour, compassion and respect while never losing our passion.

    A terrible loss for Scotland.

  22. Duncan MacLaren

    I knew Margo well as a colleague in the SNP and as a friend. I am, to use one of her favorite words, ‘gutted’ and am unfortunately overseas working and can’t quite believe it but my tears betray the reality of tbe loss. As I wrote to Jim, death and Margo don’t mix. She was such a life force, a secular saint in the pantheon of great Scots. My God, how we’ll all miss you, Margo. If it’s yes on -19 September, you’ll be remembered as one of the architects of our country’s new beginning.
    Duncan Maclaren

  23. Margo had the admirable ability to express with great clarity and in very few words, aims and ideas which could inspire listeners.
    She achieved this to great effect in Princes Street Gardens, in September 2012, when she explained the role of each person in the YES campaign: all that was needed in the next two years, she said, was for each one of us to persuade one other person and YES wins.
    We owe it to her memory to do just that.

  24. I met Margo a few times and helped work with her election campaign in 2003. I still have the T-shirt she gave out to all of her helpers. I remember the open top bus we were in as we toured Leith, with the Proclaimers’ ‘Sunshine on Leith’ blaring out over the speakers, and the sun shining on Leith that day. She was a formidable organiser. She lived along the street from me in Edinburgh and when Jim won Govan in 1988 I put a big banner up in my window congratulating him. Margo was so approachable. Sometimes I would see her in the street, waiting for a taxi, yet she still had the time to dispense advice on a problem and campaign I was having. She was so warm, but also completely incisive and gave great advice, always. She said it how it was. She was the mother of the nation, she made us feel proud, and she would help anyone. When any vexatious issue besets us, I’ll so miss her, and think: ‘Margo would have something to say about this. Margo would have sorted this out.’ She would stand up for justice, bravely. She was the people’s champion. I am in tears today. Scotland is a lonelier and darker place without her. I can only hope that the common sense warm-hearted values she espoused are carried on in all of us and that from this day forward there in some sense are a thousand Margos, a hundred thousand Margos, as we try to live up to what she was and what she taught us to be, fearless, cheerful, and totally unpretentious champions of freedom and justice.

  25. She’ll be ‘beelin’ she missed the vote!

  26. Too true she could sum it up fast. Once I was talking to her about the 1970s. I was recalling that it had all past in a bit of a blur for me of endless strikes and price hikes, and that until I had started a Modern History course, I had conflated the three day week that brought down the Heath government with the winter of discontent that brought down the Callaghan government. To which she replied:

    ‘Aye. That was the 70s. If ye werenae confused ye werenae there’.

  27. When I heard the news, the first thing I thought was ‘How unfair. She won’t be here for the referendum.’ All I can say is, we’ll never see her like again.

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