Thursday, July 03, 2008
As I alluded to earlier I had no qualms in supporting and voting for Nicol Stephen as party leader back in 2005. I've notices that some of my fellow Lib Dems in Scotland and further afield have given their view on him and their opinions and memories of his leadership.
So now I've had a little more time to cogitate I'd thought I'd write up some of my personal memories of the man.
The first time I think I saw him in the Flesh after his election as party leader was the same day I saw Robin Cook in the flesh for the last time. It was the day of the Make Poverty History march and Nicol, Caris and the four kids he now is dedicating more of his time two well all there with fellow Lib Dems from not just Scotland as we walked around Edinburgh City Centre. It was actually the event I featured in the first post on this blog. Nicol would at times be carrying on of the middle two kids while the youngest got pushed around Edinburgh from the meadows to Princess Street and back via Lothian Road etc. Here was a young vibrant leader and his family and we expected to have him in place for many years to come, little expecting that just over 3 years later he would be stepping aside for someone else.
Others have mentioned all Nicol did in Dunfermline and Moray but he set out his stall in the by election to replace Robin Cook. Like Caron I practically lived out of that Livingston campaign office, any hours I wasn't at work that was. I was encouraged at how often Nicol did come out and how much he did listen to us local activists when he was around. As Caron already said he brought the entire Scottish Party out with him for mass canvassing and I would usually end up navigating one of our MSPs as we drove to that night intended area, then pointed them to the appropriate door armed with the names of the voter in each house.
One afternoon near the end of the campaign Nicol turned up and me and Charles Dundas, our candidate, took him down to the sheltered accommodation near where I lived at the time in Livingston Village. Nicol also asked where the local post office was and so we ended up more or next to my front door, which I wasn't to step foot in for hours and introduced him to my landlord who also owned the local shop and ran the sub-post-office. Nicol signed the petition to save that post office on the counter before he left. It was the talk of the shop everytime I walked in afterwards and someone else was present that visit.
Nicol was very much a hands-on leader. No doubt committing so much of himself to his party did leave his wife and family feeling a little neglected while we felt loved. I'm sure now that he commits as much of that hands on approach to them he will just as committed and his bairns will surely benefit from that.
One of his last trips around the country was to Linlithgow to meet the local party and the hear about the work of the Linlithgow Initiative for Climate Change. Sadly work kept me away from that meeting but I know his visit was appreciated by those who could make it.
Thanks for everything Nicol and best wishes to you, Caris and the kids.
UPDATE: In the best laid plans of mice and men. I had intended there to be a trumpet fanfare and a celebratory post for my 750th to my blog. This is blog entry number 750, sometimes news just takes over.