The first time I heard about Donald Dewar was when he was Scottish
Secretary to the UK government, the man with responsibility for representing the whole of the country in Parliament
. He's been credited as having guided devolution into being, so I guess it was only fitting that when Scotland
gained its first Parliament for over 300 years, he was the man in charge.
Admittedly, I was a little upset when Labour got themselves the most votes, since the leaders of the SNP, Conservatives, and Liberal Democrats all seemed young things, compared to old fuddy-duddy Donald, who had an annoying voice and a combover.
But he was voted in as First Minister of the Parliament, and did his job fairly well. In April 2000, he developed a heart condition and had to undergo surgery, which put him out of action for a month or two. But, being the stubborn man he is credited as being, he was back at work before long. More than likely overworking himself, at that...
Parliamentary business ticked along as usual, and everything seemed fine. Until October 10, 2000 when it was reported that after a fall outside his official residence in Edinburgh, Donald Dewar fell seriously ill and was admitted to Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary. He was later transferred, under heavy sedation to the Western General Hospital, elsewhere in the city, and died today of a brain haemorrhage. He was 63.
It seems that he wasn't as bad as I thought. He did a lot of good for Scotland. While I can't say I agreed with his party's stance on university tuition fees, I'm glad to see that the coalition with Jim Wallace's Liberal Democrats party got them out the window. But we now have our own parliament, and getting it into place was largely down to this one man.
According to today's Daily Record, his words as he was being carted into the ambulance were Get me off this bloody stretcher. I think he was perhaps too stubborn for his own good.
for more, see the BBC News article "Father of nation dies", http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/scotland/newsid_966000/966880.stm