Margo MacDonald was a rare and precious gift, a politician who was warm, likeable, truthful and passionate. No matter how brightly her star shone – her feet remained firmly planted on Scottish soil. She embodied a great paradox, a miracle even, despite being an extraordinary woman Margo was always one of the ordinary people.
Margo made me a into supporter of independence. I only met her once, very briefly, when she was standing for election as rector of Glasgow University back in the early 80s. I was shy and tongue tied in the presence of my hero, she’d already worked her magic on me long before when she won the Govan by-election. With that victory she showed a confused wee boy in the East End that working class Scottish people could take on the powerful and win with wit and intelligence as our only weapons. Margo taught us that Scottish independence was not just for beardy men with an obsession with ancient history. It was about social housing, about jobs, and above all about democracy. It was about us, our stories, our voices, our future.
And Margo had a voice that rang true and sang the song of self-determination. Margo taught us that self-determination begins with yourself. Set yourself free, break the mental chains that bind, see through the fear, don’t defer to self-proclaimed authority. Margo taught us that if you live in the light of truth, if you feel the strength that comes from within – you can do anything. Margo didn’t just preach that message. She lived it.
The fates dictated that Margo would not make it to the promised land, but she showed the rest of us the way. She was one of the greatest Scots of her generation, of all generations. She will be remembered, she will be missed.
Today I’m shedding a tear for Margo. I’ve never before wept when a politician has died. But Margot wasn’t just a politician. She was far more than that. Her song lives on in the hearts of the thousands she reached out to and touched. Margo is gone, but her song will never be stilled. On the 18th of September we’ll vote yes in her memory – and Scotland will make her proud.
Goodbye Margo. Thank you.