MARGO MacDonald has delivered an appeal from beyond the grave, urging that divisions over independence should not be allowed to poison Scotland’s future.
Her husband Jim Sillars told today’s gathering in the Assembly Hall that when she knew she was dying she had discussed with him her concern for Scotland’s people after the referendum result.
And he appealed for the referendum to be conducted “the Margo MacDonald way” - debating without malice and not turning opponents into enemies.
He said: “There were times she came home from the Scottish Parliament, expressing concern about what she described as the ‘palpable air of bitter antagonism’ generated in some debates.
“She knew only too well that this nation is divided on the issue of independence.
“It was typical of Margo, who knew she would not be here to be concerned about this nation after the referendum, to still be concerned in her last weeks of life.
“We discussed this division, and what this people will do with the sovereignty it holds in those 15 hours between 7am and 10pm, on September 18.
“She so desperately wanted us to hold on to it. But, at one minute past 10pm, whatever the result, she wanted those divisions to end, and this nation seek a unity of purpose.
“So, in my final remarks I bring a message from Margo for all engaged in this campaign.
“There will be harsh statements on both sides. The debate will be fierce. There will be verbal wounds inflicted. But if we conduct ourselves in the run up to September 18 the Margo MacDonald way, the divisions will be much easier to heal.
“The Margo MacDonald way is to recognise that you are dealing with opponents not enemies, not with ogres but with fellow human beings, with whom you can disagree but must do so without malice – and where the exercise of mutual respect is a civilised corrective to uncivilised abuse, an abuse which, if unchecked by both sides, can so easily mutate into an irreversible corrosive malign influence on the conduct of public life.
“Margo’s life’s work was a passionate pursuit of Scottish independence. But if she could refuse to sunder friendships with people who fundamentally opposed her on the issue which she spent her life trying to achieve, then so can we all.
“If she could debate without conceding one iota of principle, but do so without venom, so can we all. If she could respect the right of the other side to their opinions, so can we all.
“That’s what she wanted me to say.”