I was delighted 4 years later when in midst of a frozen Aberdeenshire Winter, Nicol won the by-election in the same seat. Unfortunately his period in office was only to last 154 days until the 1992 General Election,
As I watched the 1999 Scottish Parliament results come in from Nottinghamshire, the one that made me happiest was seeing Nicol win Aberdeen South.
When he became leader of the Scottish Party in 2005 after Jim Wallace stood down, I had the chance to work with him closely as I was Vice Convener Campaigns and Candidates at the time. The best time was during the Livingston by-election campaign when Brian Taylor said that the story of the night was how well we had held on to our vote after a vigorous campaign led by candidate Charles Dundas and in the run up to Willie Rennie's spectacular Dunfermline victory. Nicol's biggest strengths are his thirst for the campaign trail and his fantastic manner with people. He was genuinely interested in every single person he spoke to. He would go up to groups of young people and chat away to them really easily. He totally believed in those campaigns and motivated and inspired others to take part. He was such a help to have around and the advice that he offered was unfailingly good.
The leadership and commitment he showed played a huge part in the Liberal Democrat success of those years. I certainly could have asked no more of him as leader.
He's now decided not to stand again as MSP for Aberdeen South and will leave Holyrood at the end of this session. He's had a successful career there, being part of the Coalition Governments which introduced fair votes for local government elections, free personal care, ended upfront tuition fees and introduced the smoking ban which I think is one of the best pieces of legislation in my lifetime.
Nicol's passionate about young people and their demonisation by the tabloids makes him furious. As enterprise minister he was so supportive of the renewable energy industry and set out bold targets for use of renewable energy.
His successor as leader, Tavish Scott had this to say about Nicol:
“Nicol has made an enormous contribution to both the North East and to Scotland.
“I've known and worked with Nicol since his seminal Kincardine & Deeside by-election win in 1991and we've shared many exciting political times since.
“The first Scottish coalition in 1999 was put together by Nicol, after he won the Aberdeen South constituency in the Scottish Parliament. He played a huge role in Ministerial life, ultimately as Scotland's Deputy First Minister.
“I will miss his presence, strategic approach and sense of humour as a colleague and above all a friend in Holyrood. I wish Caris and the entire Stephen tribe all my best wishes and happiness for their future.”
We'll miss him in Holyrood and I echo Tavish's good wishes for the whole family. We should never forget the sacrifices that partners and children of all politicians make and I'm really grateful to Caris and the kids for all they've done and given up over the years, too.
It's hard to believe that Nicol has served the party well for nearly 30 years in public office -and he's still only 50. Good luck to him in whatever he does next.