At the funeral

I was in Oban this morning for the funeral of Iain MacCormick, the former SNP MP for Argyll, an appreciation of whom I wrote for "The Scotsman" earlier this week.

There was a full Requiem Mass at St Columba's Cathedral which was a very moving service and particularly at its ending when , as Canon MacNeil censed the coffin , the congregation sang "Receive his soul, receive his soul and present him to God the most High." It was like a communal, heartfelt and generous leave taking and was concluded when we all went up to Pennyfuir Cemetery above the town where, in a fine drizzle, Iain was finally laid to rest after a most unexpected Maori "Haka" from the partner of one of Iain's family.

I sat at the funeral between John Swinney and Dee & George Reid. This picture just seemed to come to my notice as we were walking away from the graveside - John & George, two friends with whom I have had, from to time, my differences but with whom I have also shared a lot and who I greatly value and respect.

It is at times like these one thinks of such things.

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