I am currently on holiday in Mallorca, having a great time becoming subject entirely to the timetable decreed by the hotel´s entertainment team. Last night they organised a truly fabulous chillout party by the pool. However, I didn´t stay chilled out for very long after I received a text from my friend telling me that Nicol Stephen had stepped down as party leader.
In a way I´m not surprised. I was an office bearer of the Party until the end of December and even though I loved the job, the commitment to that, my day job as well as being a mum was just too much. Nicol has done the right thing in putting family first. His children will thank him for it, he will be happier and he´s still young enough to come back to the front line in the future.
My favourite memories of Nicol as leader are all around by elections. Just as he was elected, the Livingston by election happened. I couldn´t have asked more from him as he rearranged the MSP´s weekly group meetings to take place in our campaign HQ on a Tuesday evening and they would all go out canvassing afterwards en masse. He was totally engaged in the campaign and was a massive support to me as campaign manager.
Then there was Dunfermline, still one of the best campaigns ever. He would bring his family over at the weekends and devoted every single spare moment to getting Willie elected.
These campaigns showed an energised, passionate Nicol at his very best. He was also bold enough to make some huge commitments on renewable energy which nobody else has the courage to fulfil.
Nicol is a decent bloke and I wish him well for the future.