Gail's Gab: Margo MacDonald will be missed and why the BBC is right to ditch Silk

When I read newspaper columns I prefer them to be interesting, thought provoking, educational and funny.

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There are few which reach all those bars but I certainly don't like sad and morose contributions.

Yet hard on the heels of my tributes to Bob Crow and Tony Benn I find myself compelled to pay homage to yet another political figure that I considered a friend and inspiration.

Growing up in Govan and then Cardonald, Margo MacDonald was the first woman I ever noticed politically. I know there were others before her but I remember the great stir she caused in 1973 when she stormed to victory in the Govan by-election and caught the attention of a nine year old wee lassie who went on to admire her for the rest of her life. Here was someone who wasn't just clever and could talk well, the usual minimum requirements for politicians, she was also pretty and glamorous. The 'blonde-bombshell' is how she was affectionately referred to at that time.

In later years her hubby Jim Sillars inspired me to vote SNP for the first time in my life, without telling my dad who was a Labour stalwart at that time I might add, when he sensationally won Govan again in 1989. When Tommy was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 I was able to meet up with Margo personally and let her know how much she had inspired me as a wee girl to speak up for what I thought was right. Her influence probably shaped my commitment to trade unionism. We shared a good few gabs at various meetings in and around Edinburgh. Tommy was always able to rely on her for support and advice in relation to his eight years alongside her in the Parliament. She is a big loss to Scottish politics. She brought a genuine common and human touch to the political battlefield and spoke in language that most people could understand.

Whether you agreed with the political issues she championed or not she was always worth listening to. Both Tommy and I were very sad to learn of her death and our condolences go out the Jim and all her family. RIP Margo.

No more Silk

I wasn't sure if the BBC producers of the court based drama 'Silk' regularly read my Tuesday column but they obviously do. I have slated the show for being unrealistic and a huge waste of acting talent and BBC resources before and now I hear it is being discontinued.

That is the right decision until they can find writers able to produce scripts worthy of big budgets and prime time telly. Some of the story lines have basically been crap. The actors are good and even the characters are interesting but the scripts deserve to be filed under 'a load of old tosh'.

Shows like 'The Americans', 'The Good Wife' and 'Endeavour' on the other hand deserve to be watched and promoted. 'The Americans' was a slow burner but is now our favourite show. If you have not watched it yet I would advise you to rectify that. The acting and story lines are superb.

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