Winnie Ewing, who within the late Nineteen Sixties remodeled Scottish politics by bringing the problem of independence from Britain to the nationwide mainstream from the electoral fringe, died on June 21 at her house in Bridge of Weir, a city west of Glasgow. She was 93.
Her demise was introduced in an announcement by her household, a number of of whom, together with her daughter and one among her sons, adopted her into Scottish politics.
Mrs. Ewing was a political neophyte in 1967 when, as a member of the Scottish Nationwide Occasion, she received a surprising upset over a Scottish Labour Occasion veteran, capturing a parliamentary seat close to Glasgow that had been in that celebration’s palms for some 50 years.
Simply 38 on the time, with three younger kids and a profitable legislation profession, the charismatic Mrs. Ewing sliced via Scotland’s lethargic, sclerotic politics together with her imaginative and prescient for an energized, unbiased nation.
“Cease the world, Scotland desires to get on,” she informed a reporter quickly after her victory.
She made her inaugural journey to the Palace of Westminster in London, the place the British Parliament meets, aboard a particular practice referred to as the Tartan Specific, with 250 well-wishers aboard. Much more folks, together with a band of pipers taking part in “Scotland the Courageous,” greeted her when she disembarked at Euston Station.
She obtained alongside nicely with most of her colleagues, however the remainder of the Scottish delegation, all resentful Labour Occasion members, made her years in Parliament disagreeable. They insulted her in public and refused to take a seat together with her within the Westminster cafeteria. She even later claimed that somebody — she refused to say who — had stalked her for months.
“I didn’t understand it will be so nasty, as a result of no person had warned me,” she informed The Herald, a Scottish newspaper, in 2004. “It was like going to face a crucifixion, a minor crucifixion, daily.”
She was obtained higher again house, the place she impressed a technology of younger folks and girls to flood into Scottish politics after many years of staying out of it.
“She was any individual who modified the course of Scottish political historical past,” Nicola Sturgeon, the previous first minister of Scotland, informed the BBC in 2018. “Once I was rising up in politics there weren’t very many ladies that I might look to, who had blazed a path, and Winnie was undoubtedly one of many few.”
Mrs. Ewing additionally reoriented her nation’s politics from its conventional left-right association to 1 targeted, a minimum of partly, on the query of independence. Over the span of her political profession, the Scottish Nationwide Occasion, which had been on the periphery, turned the nation’s dominant electoral drive.
In 2014 she performed a lead position in Scotland’s referendum on independence, campaigning relentlessly alongside her buddy and fellow proud Caledonian Sean Connery. However regardless of their efforts, the referendum misplaced, 55 to 45 p.c.
Winifred Margaret Woodburn was born on July 10, 1929, in Glasgow. Her father, George Woodburn, ran a paper plant, and her mom, Christina (Anderson) Woodburn, was a homemaker.
She obtained a legislation diploma from the College of Glasgow, the place she joined the Scottish Nationalist Affiliation, a pro-independence group. She later recalled that when she informed her father, a dedicated Labour Occasion member, about her choice, he referred to as her “a traitor.”
She married Stewart Ewing, an accountant, in 1956. He later additionally served as her aide and political adviser.
Stewart Ewing died in 2003. Mrs. Ewing is survived by her sons, Terry and Fergus; her daughter, Annabelle Ewing; and 4 grandchildren.
Fergus and Annabelle Ewing are members of the Scottish Parliament, as was Fergus’s spouse, Margaret, who died in 2006.
Mrs. Ewing’s first stint in Parliament lasted simply three years, however she returned in 1974 and served one other 5. In 1975 Prime Minister Harold Wilson selected her as a member of the British delegation to the fledgling European Parliament, a place she held for 20 years.
In Strasbourg, France, the place the European Parliament met, she earned the nickname Madame Écosse — Mrs. Scotland in French — for her seemingly single-minded focus. She defended Scottish fisherman and oil pursuits, and she or he made frequent trigger with representatives of different European areas stressed for house rule.
Over time, she used her place in Strasbourg to push Scotland from a pervasive skepticism towards the European Union to a full-on embrace beneath her slogan “Independence in Europe.”
Shuttling throughout the North Sea, she received the presidency of the Scottish Nationwide Occasion in 1987. She held that put up till stepping down in 2005.
The Scottish voted overwhelmingly in 1997 to reconstitute their Parliament, which had been dissolved after the nation’s unification with England in 1707. Mrs. Ewing simply received election to it, and at its first session, in 1999, gaveled it again into existence.
“I wish to start with the phrases that I’ve at all times wished both to say or hear another person say,” she stated, seated on a dais on the head of the chamber. “The Scottish Parliament, adjourned on the twenty fifth day of March, within the yr 1707, is hereby reconvened.”
Six years later, when the Parliament moved to a brand new location, Mrs. Ewing was given the chair through which she had delivered these historic phrases.