Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Anne McLaughlin

Bashir Ahmad was a lovely man, one passionately committed to the cause of Scottish independence, and he is a huge loss to the SNP and Scottish politics. His presence in the Scottish Parliament was about more than symbolism – he was much more than just his race or religion. He was a great politician in his own right.

His passing inevitably means that a vacancy had to be filled in the Scottish Parliament. That was always going to be a difficult role for anyone to take up, especially given how close people in Glasgow SNP are to each other.

Anne McLaughlin has therefore found herself in the position of Scotland’s newest MSP in the most tragic of circumstances.

Given those circumstances you would expect the media and opposition politicians to show some sensitivity towards Anne, at least for a few days. But that is not the case. Instead, we have seen some ludicrous attacks on her from various quarters.

Anne is a good friend of mine, and I find it hard to see her being unfairly attacked.

A better friend you could not hope to meet. Anne’s only flaw (apart from her love of karaoke) is that she always puts others first, often to the exclusion of her own best interests. In a world where I increasingly despair at how selfish people are, I often find myself urging Anne to be more selfish!

Anne has spent her adult life campaigning for independence, with humour, passion and commitment. She is honest, considered and compassionate. And you would be struggling to find somebody who works harder than she does.

Her personality is irrepressible – in a good way! That certainly comes across in her blog, and it is rather disappointing that people are trying to use some of her comments against her. People always complain that politicians are dull, but when they do show they are human beings with personalities they are often metaphorically slapped down or ridiculed for it.

Anne is far from dull, and she will make a first class elected representative for Glasgow and Scotland. I am proud to call her a friend.

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