Friday, 4 April 2014

RIP Margo MacDonald

I'm very sad to learn that Margo MacDonald, independent MSP for Lothian, has died today, aged 70.

Long committed to the cause of Scottish Independence, her first major political victory was winning the Glasgow Govan seat in a 1973 by-election for the SNP. She became deputy leader of the party from 1974 to 1979, and was subsequently elected to represent the Lothians as an MSP in the first Scottish Parliament election of 1999. She later stood as an independent MSP in the 2003 Scottish Parliament elections, leading to her expulsion from the party. She went on to be re-elected as an independent in the 2007 and 2011 elections.

She lived with Parkinson's Disease for the better part of two decades and was a strong advocate for assisted suicide, protecting the rights of sex workers and the homeless, and justice for Palestine, among other important causes. She stood up passionately for the issues she believed in, even if this meant going "off-message" and putting her at odds with her party. She was also an extremely entertaining public speaker and provided a very human face to a profession that often appears to consist exclusively of identikit career politicians.

She will be sorely missed, and it's a crying shame that she so narrowly missed out on the opportunity to cast her vote for the cause she fought for throughout her political career.

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