‘You know it’s great to be on the side of the Angels …’

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  By G.A.Ponsonby
 
She spoke those words at the independence rally in Edinburgh in September 2012.  I never met Margo MacDonald, but like others who have sent well wishes to her family and expressed their own sadness at her passing, I felt as though I did.
 
I called our editor on Friday afternoon when I heard the news.  I expected Lynda to have already heard.  The gasp on the other end of the phone told me she hadn’t.  Oh no! was the immediate response followed by a lengthy silence.

  By G.A.Ponsonby
 
She spoke those words at the independence rally in Edinburgh in September 2012.  I never met Margo MacDonald, but like others who have sent well wishes to her family and expressed their own sadness at her passing, I felt as though I did.
 
I called our editor on Friday afternoon when I heard the news.  I expected Lynda to have already heard.  The gasp on the other end of the phone told me she hadn’t.  Oh no! was the immediate response followed by a lengthy silence.

Within moments of having made the call, my own emotions kicked in.  It dawned on me that the independence movement had lost someone really special, I felt personally bereaved.

I think this feeling was … is felt across Scotland today by the hordes of Yes activists working towards the goal that Margo had given most of her adult live towards achieving.

Her appearance that day at the independence rally was an example of the charisma and natural good natured charm that made people warm to her.  The crowd that day responded to her honesty, she spoke their language.  When she told the crowd that all each of us had to do was persuade one other Scot to vote Yes, the message resonated … we believed her.

It was the same in TV and Radio debates.  “Ach don’t be daft”, would be enough to cut through the usual political waffle-speak that passes for debate.

“Listen” she would say … and everybody did.  Her common sense, down to earth manner endeared her to the public, which was why she was returned to Holyrood as an independent MSP time after time.  It’s poignant that her seat in Holyrood will remain empty due to her own independence – no by-election can be called.

I was too young to remember the vibrant young woman who reached out and grabbed Govan from a complacent Labour party in 1973, but like many non-SNP Scots, I grew up knowing who Margo MacDonald was.  And it’s that household recognition that exemplifies what the independence movement has lost.

Margo MacDonald spoke like I do, like my family and friends do.  She sounded like my own mother and I gave her respect for it.  When she spoke, she spoke for the ordinary people.

That’s what I’ll remember.

Margo MacDonald, September 2012: “Every one of us has got two years to persuade another one Scot … and then we’re home and dry”