THE Evening News’ camapign for a statue to honour one of the Capital’s greatest women has been backed by men from across the political spectrum.
Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray said Scotland had neglected pioneering suffragist doctor Elsie Inglis, who defied government advice and went out to set up field hospitals during the First World War.
Mr Murray, who is staging a debate at Westminster next week marking the centenary of her death and state funeral in Edinburgh, said: “She is huge in Serbia – they have 11 statues and memorials to her across Serbia, including naming the central children’s and young people’s hospital in Belgrade after her.
“But we have not really recognised the contribution she and what were termed her ‘Scottish angels’ made to First World War, not just in terms of the war effort but also the legacy that was left afterwards.
“There are very few statues commemorating and celebrating the role of women. And given the significance of Dr Inglis globally it seems strange not to have a monument in her home city. It would be a fitting tribute in the centenary both of her death and the end of the Great War next year for us to commemorate it with a proper acknowledgement of the role she and her colleagues played.”
Tory councillor Phil Doggart said a statue was a great idea. “I think what she did in terms of challenging the establishment of her time, both in terms of medical authority and military authority was quite significant and the legacy she’s left in the treatment of wounded soldiers is very significant. Her contribution should be recognised.
“She was a pioneer and I think pioneers sometimes do not get the full recognition of what they have done.”
Edinburgh Northern & Leith SNP MSP Ben Macpherson said the city was filled with statues to those who had made significant contributions to the lives of others, the city, the country and Scottish culture.
“However, with only two statues of named women in Edinburgh, our city needs many more statues of women to celebrate the difference numerous women have made and to recognise their remarkable achievements.
“It’s great to see the Evening News campaigning for a statue honouring Dr Elsie Inglis, one of the many Scottish woman who have influenced our lives today. Dr Elsie Inglis was a ground-breaking doctor, who served on the battlefields of Europe during the First World War, a suffragist and the founder of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals – a statue to honour her remarkable contribution to the common good is something I wholeheartedly support.”
And Edinburgh Western Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton also backed the campaign.
He said: “Elsie played a vital role in the history of women in medicine and in the heritage of our city. In everything she did she exemplified values of courage, compassion and internationalism, which for me mirror the values of the Capital. I can think of few people as deserving of this tribute and welcome the campaign to see her remembered in this way.”