Fifer through and through
My sympathy to the family of John MacDougall, who has died after a prolonged illness.
As others have borne witness, the length of the preparation does not lessen the shock of the final loss.
Born in Dunfermline, John MacDougall was a Fifer through and through. Indeed, his was almost the quintessential Fife Labour career.
Employment at the Methil yard, service as a union shop steward, Labour branch chair, Fife councillor and council leader, MP in Henry McLeish's old Fife constituency, then MP for the new Glenrothes seat.
He had, in truth, little opportunity to make an extensive or, more accurately, sustained impact at Westminster. Illness determined that: the insidious and hateful blight of Mesothelioma.
But, added to his Westminster service, he will be remembered for his substantial work in union, council and party circles - plus his efforts within European politics. Plus his commitment to his native Fife.
His death, of course, means a by-election. That will involve a political contest, a sharply-fought political contest.
But not yet, I trust, not yet.