PROUD OF BE­ING

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

Mar­garet Ferrier can’t re­mem­ber a time when she didn’t sup­port an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land.

Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West’s new­est MP was a lead­ing light in the lo­cal Yes cam­paign last year, and even as a mem­ber of the Labour Party in her youth, felt the coun­try should go it alone.

As a child, she lived for a pe­riod in Spain, and those early mem­o­ries are an in­sight into some­one who never thought of her­self as “Bri­tish.”

“Un­be­known to me I’ve al­ways been (a sup­porter of in­de­pen­dence),” she says.

“I ac­tu­ally lived in Spain when I was younger and I al­ways re­mem­ber be­ing asked by some of the chil­dren when I went to school, when they used to call me English, and the first thing I would cor­rect them on was that I wasn’t English, I was Scot­tish, so I al­ways had that Scot­tish iden­tity, even from the age of 12.

“If I had been a mem­ber of the Labour Party last year I would prob­a­bly have been in Labour for In­de­pen­dence, I would have been one of the peo­ple cam­paign­ing for in­de­pen­dence within the Labour Party.

“I have al­ways been very proud of be­ing Scot­tish and I don’t see that chang­ing.”

Mar­garet is sit­ting down with the Re­former for the first time since her stunning elec­tion victory last month for a chat.

Since over­turn­ing Labour’s mas­sive ma­jor­ity, she and her 55 SNP col­leagues have been hard at work set­tling into their new roles at West­min­ster.

It’s been a whirl­wind few weeks for the 54- year- old, who ad­mits she’s still com­ing to terms with her achieve­ment.

“I think it’s still sink­ing in, it’s still sink­ing in for the other par­ties down in West­min­ster and I think the one mem­ber from each party are feel­ing slightly lonely.

“It’s a big place to get around, and just try­ing to find your way. The door­keep­ers do a fan­tas­tic job just herd­ing us around f rom lobby to lobby.”

Mar­garet and her SNP friends would have been for­given for ex­pect­ing a frosty re­cep­tion when they ar­rived at West­min­ster.

The idea of a Labour mi­nor­ity propped up by the SNP proved a vote win­ner for the Con­ser­va­tives, who seemed ea­ger to paint the SNP as danger­ous up­starts.

But pol­i­tics is a funny busi­ness, and peo­ple from all par­ties usu­ally find they have more in com­mon away from the cut and thrust of Par­lia­ment than they might have ex­pected.

And Mar­garet is no ex­cep­tion: “The staff, ap­par­ently they were re­ally look­ing for­ward to us go­ing down there.

“I think there have been times in the past where some of the mem­bers don’t go out their way to en­gage with the staff.

“Our six MP’s that were down al­ways tried to do that, so they were very ex­cited there was go­ing to be a big­ger group of us down and they’ve all been ab­so­lutely bril­liant from door keep­ers to po­lice to cater­ing staff. “And we’ve had MP’s from other par­ties be­ing quite in­quis­i­tive, es­pe­cially the Conser v at i v e s want­ing to know what we’re go­ing to bring to the ta­ble.

“That’s been quite in­ter­est­ing. Peo­ple see the cham­ber and what goes on in the cham­ber but they don’t ac­tu­ally see what goes on out­side.

“There will be friend­ships forged across par­ties, be­cause once you come out the cham­ber and put aside the pol­i­tics, you might find com­mon ground.

“We’ve found that the UK Labour party are not quite the same as the Scot­tish Labour MP’s, there is a dif­fer­ence. You prob­a­bly heard of our ad­journ­ment de­bate on Tri­dent, we found we had Jeremy Cor­byn on our side of the cham­ber talk­ing out in favour of what we were try­ing to bring for­ward. There is peo­ple down there we will be able to work with on all sides of the cham­ber.

“I think it’s slightly sur­prised me, but we’re sill learn­ing. We were told you will make friend­ships, and we’ve done that.”

Mar­garet, who worked as a com­mer­cial sales manager for a con­struc­tion com­pany, was brought up in King’s Park and at­tended Holy­rood sec­ondary be­fore mov­ing to Mal­lorca for a year and a half.

She then stayed in Ruther­glen be­fore spend­ing the 1990’s in Darnley. In 2000, she moved to Cam­bus­lang where she’s been since.

Pre­vi­ously a mem­ber of the Labour party, in her early 20’s she was also a mem­ber of Amnesty In­ter­na­tional, and wrote to Gov­ern­ment’s call­ing for the re­lease of po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers world­wide.

Her jour­ney to­wards the SNP was a drawn- out process. She left the Labour Party but con­tin­ued to vote for them, be­fore de­cid­ing the SNP

Cam­paign Mar­garet gets her point across dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign

Ready to go Mar­garet Ferrier is lov­ing life as an MP

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