Margo MacDonald bling to be auctioned for Jim Eadie campaign

Margo's former assistant Mary Blackford with the items up for sale. Picture: Jane Barlow
Margo's former assistant Mary Blackford with the items up for sale. Picture: Jane Barlow
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SHE was one of that rare breed – a popular politician famous for her strong opinions, yet still respected on all sides.

But as well as her political principles, the late Independent Lothian MSP Margo MacDonald was well-known for her colourful outfits and ostentatious accessories, often ordered via the TV shopping channel QVC.

Through this donation and the money it will raise, her influence will continue to be felt.

Jim Eadie

Now some of her favourite items of bling are to be auctioned to help boost the campaign coffers of Edinburgh Southern SNP MSP Jim Eadie.

Margo’s husband, Jim Sillars, is donating two of her necklaces and a bag, which will be sold at Mr Eadie’s adoption meeting on Friday.

Mr Eadie said: “I’m extremely humbled to have secured this very generous donation from Margo’s family.

“I was privileged to have got to know Margo well, particularly following my own election in 2011. She was a ready source of encouragement and sound advice on local issues as she knew the constituency well.

“Margo’s taste was as colourful as her personality.

“She was no designer snob. She took great pride in showing off her wardrobe where designer bags jostled for space with pieces bought for fun, usually on QVC.

“Margo also loved country music and was often heard to quote Dolly Parton – ‘It costs an awful lot of money to look this cheap’.”

Mr Eadie did not want to estimate how much the items might raise at the auction.

But he said one of the necklaces had been worn by Margo in the Holyrood chamber and for TV appearances on many occasions. “That makes it priceless beyond any monetary value that could be attached to it,” he said.

Margo, who died in April 2014, was a Lothian MSP from the start of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 – first for the SNP and then as an independent.

Mr Eadie said: “This will be the first election in which Margo has not been standing.

“I’m nonetheless delighted that through this donation and the money it will raise for my campaign, her influence will continue to be felt.”

Mr Sillars said Margo would have been pleased her accessories were going to help Mr Eadie’s re-election bid.

He said: “Jim has been a very close friend of ours for many years and Margo had a great regard for him.

“We’ve chosen some items which are unmistakably Margo bling and hopefully they will bring in the maximum amount of money for Jim’s campaign.”

Around 150 people are expected at Friday’s meeting where the guest speakers are Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Edinburgh South West MP Joanna Cherry.

SNP MEP Alyn Smith will conduct the auction.

Ironically, the meeting is being held at Tynecastle – even though Margo was a lifelong Hibs fan.

“I’m sure she would have had a quiet chuckle about that,” said Mr Eadie.

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com