As her health deteriorated in recent years, she would bat off any suggestion that she might consider retirement with a cheerful declaration: “I have things I want to do.” After a lifetime of getting things done, Margo just wasn’t ready to stop. She was throughout her life a tireless and passionate campaigner for every cause in which she believed. For that reason alone, so many of us have reason to be grateful to her.
She believed fiercely in social justice, and succeeded time and again in giving a voice to those without one. From the prostitutes of Leith to the homeless on Scotland’s streets, the terminally-ill who wanted control over the end of their lives to Death Row Scot Kenny Richey, she was a powerful advocate for the powerless and dispossessed, often taking on causes few others would touch.
She revelled in being a “troublemaker” and as often as not got results. Who else would have secured agreement for the capital city supplement, a mechanism which sees extra funding come to Edinburgh each year in recognition of our special role as Scotland’s first city?
She might have been born and raised on the west coast, but the gallus former MP for Govan adopted Edinburgh as her home – and Hibs as her team. We in turn adopted – and adored – her.
Margo made friends across the city and made people smile wherever she went. She will be missed from the corridors of power to the stands at Easter Road.
A skilled political operator, who connected with the public like no other politician of her generation, she did more than anyone to make her dream of an independent Scotland the possibility it is today. She did not pursue independence for dogmatic reasons, but because she saw it as the best means of creating a fairer society for our children.
She might have inspired many Scots to rally to the independence cause, but just as many did not see eye to eye with her on the issue.
Yet, at a time when the referendum debate is threatening to cause serious division in Scotland, Margo had the happy knack of bringing people together.
When September 18 comes, whatever side of the debate we stand on, everyone in Scotland will spare a thought for Margo MacDonald.