The one headline for literature I always had up my sleeve following the election of the Aberdeen South MSP to be Scottish Lib Dem leader was:

Stephen Backs Stephen

Nicol Stephen was the person I had backed in that particular leadership election to replace Jim Wallace in 2005. He was young, vibrant, environmentally aware and prepared I thought to lead our party in Scotland for a long time.

In the end it proved to be only for 3 years before pressures, and we all assume outside pressures, led to his stepping down from his role of leadership. That I felt was a shame and as I blogged at the time was a great regret. He had done a lot to move the party on in those far too few short years and I do regret somehow losing that internal momentum a little when he chose to step down, just at the kick off of the Glasgow East by election.

During the 2005 by election in Livingston when I was missing my usual birthday politics at conference with birthday politics on the doorstep he ended up being present at what ended up being dinned on my Birthday. Which is one of those moments that occasionally makes campaigning worthwhile.

However, as he is stepping down next May I wish him, Caris and the four children all the best as they will see more of their father and husband now and he more of them. Also after 12 years as their MSP I hope that the people of Aberdeen South have an equally competent Liberal Democrat MSP after the elections in May to take their interests forward.

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