Motion of Thanks

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:55 pm on 29th March 2007.

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Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent 12:55 pm, 29th March 2007

Presiding Officer, it was not just yesterday that you and I and some other political anoraks sat discussing Scotland's possible futures well into the wee small hours in the Salutation Hotel in Perth. I have never said anything about that night and I do not intend to now, so do not worry. Seen from this distance, our thoughts and ideas appear to have come from another age. Actually, it was another age—it was before Andy Kerr. Although the cleaners were hoovering round us, nobody suggested that you leave the lounge for a cigarette.

Our professional paths crossed again about 25 years later, if I recall correctly, when we shared a broadcasting award. I was delving into drugs and you were running the show at a general election. I suspect that that is when you found that you liked being in the chair and steering things—Parliament has benefited from that. We needed a champion and, as others have said, you have filled the position more than admirably, for which you have our sincere thanks.

If Dennis Canavan were here, he would have done as I have—he would not have said anything about what happened 30 years ago, either. Like you, he leaves front-line politics today. His contribution, like yours, has enhanced Parliament.

Brian Monteith is another colleague who will leave our happy and eclectic group of independents. As with Dennis Canavan and you, I have known Brian for years. I will miss his free-thinking intellect as much as I will miss the same qualities in Dennis Canavan and you.

On this occasion, I can claim to speak for the independents. I have not always done that—I have always said that I was just the one who was pushed to the front while they all talked behind my back. However, I speak for the independents when I thank you and Dee and wish you well in your new ventures, although I fear that those will range wider than visits to garden centres, as I think Dee was hoping. As I am the last member to speak on the motion, I sincerely thank you very much on behalf of the whole Parliament.