Anti-apartheid campaigner Janey Buchan dies aged 85
Former Glasgow MEP and anti-apartheid campaigner Janey Buchan has died at the aged of 85.
The grandmother and great-grandmother was a Scottish Labour member in Brussels from 1979 to 1994 when she retired.
Mrs Buchan's son Alasdair confirmed to the BBC that his mother had died in Brighton at the weekend.
She was the wife of the late Norman Buchan, who was a Labour MP in Paisley for 26 years until his death in 1990.
Mrs Buchan was born four days before the start of the General Strike in 1926 to her shipyard worker father, Joseph Kent, and her mother Chrissie Sinclair.
I first met Janey Buchan in 1998 at a public inquiry into attempts to allow artefacts from Glasgow's Burrell Collection to be toured internationally. Her passionate belief that museum directors were wrong to risk the priceless collection was unshakeable. The same couldn't be said for the cups of tea which she accidentally knocked over us as she dramatically illustrated a point.
Janey's fierce determination was awesome, her disdain reserved for the bureaucrats who stood in her way. Her particular concern about the Burrell Collection was not just the possibility of damage to precious artefacts in transit, but that it denied ordinary Scots the chance to see world class art on a daily basis.
Her tenacity meant she attended almost every day of the inquiry, constantly on the lookout for some snippet of information, or a legal loophole which would suspend the attempts all together. (The legal ruling eventually allowed for certain artefacts in the collection to be loaned abroad - but not the more fragile items like tapestries.)
A collector herself, Janey understood the pressures and responsibilities. Her home in the Partickhill area of Glasgow was full of books and papers she and her husband Norman had collected over the years, testimony to the artists and writers who gathered there at informal soirees. She'd burst into song or quote a line from a folk song, then return with the original lyric, left there by its owner after one such gathering.
When she generously donated the lot to Glasgow Caledonian University, it became the basis for their Centre For Political Song.
Her knowledge of the genre was vast - and not restricted to Scotland. She could just as easily quote a line from a South African folk song - another of her great passions.
Those who crossed her could expect a robust tongue lashing. Those who took her side found a kind, loyal, sharply intelligent woman whose passion for every day culture will be much missed.
She left school at the age of 14 and met her future husband when they were members of the Young Communist League.
The couple both left the Communist Party in 1956 and eventually joined the Labour Party.
Mrs Buchan was a councillor on Strathclyde Regional Council from 1974 to 1979, when she was first elected to the European Parliament in the first elections, in 1979.
While serving in the parliament she was a member of the culture committee. She was also involved in the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Gas Consumers Council.
Mrs Buchan's son said she had a variety of interests, particularly South African affairs, the arts and gay rights.
A funeral service will not take place for Mrs Buchan as her body has been donated to medical science.
On hearing of Mrs Buchan's death, Scottish Labour Party Leader Johann Lamont said: "She was wonderful warm, passionate, generous, endlessly energetic and absolutely committed that politics was about real people and families. She saw the Labour Party as a mission to improve people's lives.
"She also had a huge commitment to the arts, and believed that no culture was beyond people, but that also there was a culture of the people. She had a deep commitment to the battle against apartheid and to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
"She taught me so much. Janey stands out in my mind as someone whose politics was about the vision of the world and not herself. Her political legacy is how she shaped the thinking of a generation."
Former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown said that in every position she held, the former Labour MEP "fought hard and ceaselessly for equality".