Another day, another Scottish political leader resigns.
But unlike Wendy Alexander's departure at the weekend, Nicol Stephen is going for entirely honourable reasons. It is refreshing to have a political leader who recognises that the needs of his family come first. If doing the job of party leader was, as he says, putting a lot of strain on his family, then he has done entirely the right thing to put their needs first.
However, I do wonder whether he would have made the same decision had the Scottish Lib Dems still been in government. Being in opposition can be a real grind and doesn't have the compensation of being able to get things done in any substantial way.
I wish him well for the future and also thank him for the leadership he has shown over the past few years. Although the Scottish Lib Dems had a somewhat disappointing result in last year's Scottish parliamentary elections, I don't think that was down to Nicol. Indeed, I think people generally liked and respected Nicol as a person. And to keep Scottish Lib Dem losses down to just one seat last May at a time when the SNP was riding a wave of popularity was not too bad a result.
Thoughts now also turn to who should be Nicol's successor. I voted for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MSP Mike Rumbles last time and would certainly consider doing so again if he puts his hat in the ring again.
However, I think there is another candidate who would potentially make a better leader. Tavish Scott, MSP for Shetland, is a talented politician who comes across well and can articulate the Lib Dem case very ably. Had he stood in the leadership election last time, I think I would probably have voted for him then. He is both intelligent and passionate, and doesn't take any nonsense from our political opponents.
But whoever becomes leader, I hope that person will be able to express a clear Lib Dem narrative. With the Gnats still riding high, and the prospect of a referendum on independence in a few years' time, it is vital that we're able to put across a clear liberal vision of Scotland's future. I will be voting for the candidate who is most able to do that.
The Second Referendum, or, Obliquity
2 months ago