Margo MacDonald independence message goes on tour

Jim Sillars says the 'Margomobile' will be a more sophisticated version of the 'Snappy Bus' he used on the election trail in 1988. Picture: TSPL
Jim Sillars says the 'Margomobile' will be a more sophisticated version of the 'Snappy Bus' he used on the election trail in 1988. Picture: TSPL
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MARGO MacDonald’s message on Scottish independence is to be taken around the country in the closing weeks of the referendum campaign – via a specially-designed “Margomobile”.

The independent Lothian MSP died in April, just five months before Scots vote on the issue closest to her heart.

But today her husband Jim Sillars said: “I’m quite determined Margo will still take part in this campaign.”

Tomorrow he will launch a web-based appeal to raise money for the Margomobile and an accompanying minibus to tour key areas campaigning for a Yes vote on September 18.

The adapted truck will be emblazoned with a picture of Margo and slogans to convey her message on independence.

Mr Sillars plans to kick-start the tour at the beginning of August, along with the minibus carrying a team of activists who will work in co-operation with local Yes campaign groups.

The Margomobile will distribute leaflets and posters setting out the case for independence, featuring insights and comments from Margo.

Mr Sillars said the idea was based on the “Snappy Bus” he used when he won the 1988 Govan by-election.

“It was a small truck with a speaking platform, a loudspeaker system and slogans around the sides,” he said.

“We’re thinking of something a bit bigger and a bit more sophisticated and effective – because we are talking about Margo. I will be using it extensively right across the Central Belt. We will be targeting working-class areas because that’s where the vote will be won.”

Mr Sillars said that before her death, they had planned that Margo would deliver her message on independence in an interview broadcast on his 10.01 website.

“We had arranged for her to do a video interview that was going to be recorded and go out on social media on April 16, but she died on April 4. This latest idea will enable me to make sure Margo takes part in this campaign as she would wish to do.

“We will be using Margo’s message to working-class people which was ‘you’re better than you think you are’. That was her reply to people constantly telling Scots we are too small and cannot run our own affairs.

“Margo always said: ‘You are better than you think you are – and better than they have tried to teach you to think you are.’”

He said there was no set target for the fundraising effort. “We will raise as much as we can,” he said.

“Some of Margo’s admirers have already contributed to the project, but I urge all those who supported Margo, were inspired by her and wish to secure her legacy by ensuring a Yes vote, to make a financial contribution to the Margomobile.

“The recent Electoral Commission release on referendum finance, makes stark reading. Better Together has received over £2.4m compared with under £1.2m for Yes Scotland. This project will allow ordinary voters to redress the balance, by contributing whatever they can manage.”