Peter Peacock was my predecessor but two in the role of Cabinet Secretary for Education in the Scottish Government though the title and exact responsibilities were different - he didn't deal with HE for example - and there was only 3 years between the end of his term in office and the beginning of mine.

Today, however, he was my immediate predecessor on the platform of Scotland's First Rural Parliament which was held in Oban.

I have always liked and admired Peter - he was also an excellent Leader of Highland Council - and his contribution today , summing up and drawing together the three days of discussion, was eloquent , detailed and effective.

There was very little in it I disagreed with , a point I was happy to make when responding to the Parliament's deliberations in the closing session of what seems to have been a highly successful and very productive event.

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