Margo MacDonald: In her own words

Margo MacDonald pictured by Ian Rutherford in 2002.
Margo MacDonald pictured by Ian Rutherford in 2002.
Share this article
Have your say

SHE had a way with words did Margo MacDonald.

Here are just a few of her best quotes:


“I want to fix the world before I go.” June 17, 1998.


“Some people seem to think, wrongly, that I am a poor old soul positively yearning for the intervention of the Grim Reaper.” January 25, 2009


“I have lied so often about my age that I can never remember how old I actually am. And telling you my children’s ages is best avoided too. Thirties, forties, thereabouts.” January 25, 2009


“Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I have taught my grandchildren to swim and dive, taught them the rudiments of hockey, netball and basketball, shown them how to ride bikes and scooters and got them interested in cricket. I’m not above getting down on the carpet and showing them how to do a proper backward roll.” Responding to news that details of her condition had been leaked to the press. July 11, 2002

‘My condition means that I shake but it doesn’t mean that my brain shakes. I can do the job. I do get inexplicably tired, but I seem to have more energy than a lot of people in Holyrood.” November 6, 2004


Asked how the relationship worked, she replied: “God knows. There’s passion, there’s respect, there’s understanding, there’s friendship...There’s still a spontaneity. Alex Neil will phone me and say ‘I was speaking to Jim’ and I’ll say ‘oh no – what’s he done?’

“He’s my Page Three boy.” July 8, 2002


“If you put your head above the parapet you get shot at, that goes with the territory, and try as I might I’ve never been able to keep it below the parapet. July 8, 2002


“What would people think about the Scots? That we’re all mouth and no kilts. We would not carry respect, we would not respect ourselves.” Margo, on how Scotland might be viewed after a referendum No vote, September 22, 2013


“If you have to rely on yourself, you try harder, and when you try harder, you feel bigger.” Speaking about her parents’ separation and childhood poverty, October 7, 2012.


“Guess what was the only crumb of comfort I could take from the Jambo Spring? I loved the terrific promotion of the city inspired by the match: it put Edinburgh among the medals.” Margo speaking after Hearts defeated her beloved Hibs to win the Scottish Cup, May 30, 2012.


“I don’t have anything as grand as a manifesto. I have got priorities and a history of trying to represent the interests of the area.” Margo announcing her decision to stand as an Independent MSP, January 28, 2003


“In Edinburgh, we don’t flaunt our friendliness.” July 7, 2002


“He was too terrified to speak to me. He does now, but he can’t quite figure me out. We don’t have the same terms of reference. He’s a good boy and I’m a bad girl – if you know what I mean.” Speaking in June 7, 2002, about when a 21-year-old John Swinney was elected SNP national secretary


“It seemed such a noble thing to do. And I thought that if I did gym teaching I’d be able to go to the dancing every night.” Margo recalling her early career as a gym teacher, March 31, 1999


‘I don’t concern myself with the internecine strife and backstairs intrigue of the Scottish National Party. If I want a good fight I can have one at home.’ On the rough and tumble of politics, June 17, 1998


‘I want to be slimmer of the year but I have to do it when I decide I can succeed. I’m scared to try now in case I fail. Failure is the worst thing.” On the dangers of failure, June 17, 1998