Janey Buchan (1926 - 2012)

Labour Party MEP, socialist and political activist

Janey Buchan was born in Glasgow to a Highland mother who worked as a domestic servant and a father who was employed as a shipyard worker then tram driver. Both parents were members of the Communist Party of Great Britain, then flourishing amidst the hotbed of 1920s Red Clydeside.

She left school at the age of 14, working as a secretary, and married Norman in 1946. In their youth she and Norman joined the Young Communist League and then the Communist Party of Great Britain proper, but left following the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary. After attending commercial college she was became a Labour councillor on Strathclyde Regional Council from 1974 to 1979, when she was elected to the European Parliament in the in 1979 for the first time. As a Scottish Labour MEP she sat on the European Parliament's Culture Committee as well as being prominently involved in the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Gas Consumers Council. She was Life President of the Scottish Minorities Group (later Scottish Homosexual Rights Group and subsequently Outright Scotland).

Her lifetime of activity encompassed many fields. She was a long-time, passionate campaigner against Apartheid and for CND. She helped run the People's Festival in 1949-52 during the Edinburgh Festival; the events which helped create the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Her major passion, shared with her husband Norman, was folk music and traditional Scottish music, which they championed tirelessly.

The breadth and depth of her life is reflected in the wide-ranging subject coverage of the collection.