Tag Archives: edinburgh

Obituary: George Grubb: The epitome of all that is best about the party

It is often said, rightly, that the Liberal Democrats are like a family. We share good times and bad. We sometimes quarrel and we frequently spend more time around each other than is healthy. It also means that, when we lose one of us, we feel it as intensely as losing a close relative.

That’s certainly how I and other Liberal Democrats feel at the loss of George Grubb. The first ever Liberal Democrat Lord Provost (mayor) of Edinburgh, George was not only a friend and mentor, he was an inspiration to me and so many other Liberal Democrats in the City.

He was the very epitome of all that is best about the party. A radical liberal at heart, it was quite something to hear George rail against institutions (even the monarchy) in the softest and most polite of tones. He devoted his life to helping others, first as a church minister and then as a local councillor. However for me, George was more than a role model. He was a good friend, a confidant and guide, who not only married my wife and I but oversaw the funeral of my grandmother.

Politically, George first stood for the party in 1999 for the “unwinnable” ward of Queensferry in west Edinburgh in order to “get some experience”. He found himself elected with a majority of 300. In fact, George is one of those rare liberals who stood for office and never actually lost an election!

George also broke the infamous ‘Queensferry curse’, where no party had managed to hold the ward beyond a single term for more than 20 years. Not only was he re-elected, he was returned with a thumping majority four years later and well over 50% of the vote.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Cole-Hamilton: Defeating Brexit is our Everest

If you head to the Royal Mile at about two in the afternoon, you’ll be in for a big surprise. Our Alex Cole-Hamilton is one of the speakers at a Rally for Europe but he won’t be delivering the Europe stump speech many of us have heard many times. In fact, I’m probably more word perfect on it than I am the Sound of Music or the words of Abba Gold.

Today a new version of the Cole-Hamilton Euro speech takes centre stage and it’s just as good.

Here’s an extract.

Now I heard that Boris Johnson said that if we had to, in the event of no deal we could live without our EU workforce, that they only make up 3% of our health and social care workforce so we could probably tough it out. Boris, your spinal column makes up 3% of your body mass, try functioning without that.

“You all know my party’s policy. The Liberal Democrats believe that a process begun by the will of the British people must be concluded by the will of the British people.

“That we must put the final terms of the Brexit deal or the reality of no deal to them in a referendum, and on that ballot paper they should have an unambiguous choice to reject Brexit and remain in the EU.

“I believe that when credited with the facts, the people of this country will reject the lunacy of Brexit and return to the fold of what has become quite simply the most important project for peace and freedom in the whole of human history,

“So when the full hideous calamity of Brexit is laid bare, we should ask the people of this country, in the solemnity of the polling stations where this first started, is this really what you want? Is this what you imagined taking back control would look like? And if it isn’t then you should exercise your democratic right to stay.

“We meet in extraordinary times, historic times and you will each look back on this period and ask yourself, did I do my part? Don’t leave that question unanswered, it’s time to dig in and fight, it isn’t just a mountain we have to climb, this is our Everest.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Something a bit different – Trams return to Edinburgh

Trams in St Andrew Square Edinburgh
If you think that canvassing on behalf of the Coalition Government is hard, you should have tried canvassing in Edinburgh during the 2012 Council elections. The Liberal Democrat/SNP administration which came in in 2007 actually did, eventually, sort the contract problems and ensured that today could take place.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

Moves to close Edinburgh’s saunas show centralising and illiberal effects of Scottish Police merger

For the New Year, a story which shows the adverse effects of both illiberal and centralising measures. In Edinburgh, for the past 30 years, “saunas” have been licensed with the unspoken knowledge that it was sex, rather than massages, which were on offer inside them. Even if you don’t approve of sex being sold like any other commodity, there are obvious advantages in giving sex workers a safe environment to work in.

However, this tolerance is set to end after a series of raids on saunas. The City of Edinburgh Council is set to withdraw licences from these facilities within the …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments

Edinburgh sees first new council homes built in a generation

Good news from Edinburgh:

The keys to the first council home to be built in Edinburgh in more than 30 years are set to be officially handed over to a new tenant.

Council housing leader Councillor Paul Edie will present the keys to Lynsey Carmichael, who has moved to one of 99 houses and flats built at Gracemount.

The development is part of City of Edinburgh Council’s 21st Century Homes programme, which will see 1300 mixed tenure homes constructed for sale and rent around the capital…

Cllr Edie said: “I’m delighted that this administration has delivered the first new council homes

Posted in Scotland | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Opinion: Delivering a bright new future for Edinburgh

“I’m afraid to tell you there’s no money left”, wrote the outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury in May this year.

Reel back three years to the May 2007 Scottish local elections.  The Liberal Democrats had become the largest party in the City of Edinburgh Council after 23 years of Labour control.  A new Lib Dem led coalition with the SNP was beginning to look eagerly at how to change the city. We didn’t get a note.  Instead, we got a stark warning from the Director of Finance that reserves were perilously low and the Council was heading for a …

Posted in Local government, Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Michael Crockart MP’s maiden speech

LDV is continuing the tradition started on Cix of reposting maiden speeches of new Lib Dem MPs for the delectation and comment of our own community. We’ve been reserving them for the weekend, and amongst the new boys speaking this week past, we will be bringing you Michael Crockart, Ian Swales, Stephen Lloyd and Stephen Gilbert.

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make my maiden speech. I want to pay tribute to Steve Baker for his considerable knowledge of the banking industry. I cannot wait to hear more about that in future debates. It is …

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

Where next for Lib Dem Bloggers’ Internetty Meetup Thing?

John Barrett MP at Lib Dem Bloggers' Unconference

Just two weekends ago, we helped run a moderately successful Bloggers’ Unconference in Edinburgh, the guests of the Scottish Liberal Democrats at their HQ in Clifton Terrace. The Scottish Lib Dems were generous with their facilities and their time, giving us a room for a day, feeding us, and making sure lots of interesting senior Scottish Lib Dems came to talk to us. In the end four English bloggers made the …

Posted in Events and Online politics | Also tagged , , , , , and | 9 Comments

Edinburgh, brace yourself: the first Lib Dem Bloggers’ Unconference

Just under three weeks to go now – but there’s still time to register for the feast of blogging talent and advice that is the Lib Dem Bloggers’ Unconference.

I’m pleased to announce that Tavish Scott, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has agreed to give a Bloggers’ Interview around lunchtime.

Also joining us: Jo Swinson MP, John Barrett MP, Mike Crockart (newly-selected PPC for Edinburgh West), leading Scottish bloggers, Andrew Reeves (prolific blogger and Deputy Director of Campaigns for Scotland) as well as Lib Dem Blogfather Jonathan Calder and members of the Lib Dem Voice team.

Posted in Blogger Interviews and Events | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 2 Comments

Lib Dem Bloggers Unconference – sign up now

Some weeks ago we asked for your initial views about a “Lib Dem internetty meet up thing.”

Some good ideas emerged from the comments, and I am pleased to announce that after weeks of work for m’colleague Helen Duffett, we are able to set up the first of these meetings.

Some of the details are a little sketchy, but here’s what we know for sure:

Venue: Edinburgh – Scottish Lib Dem HQ, 4 Clifton Terrace EH12 5DR. Map here.

Date: Saturday 21 November 2009

Time: 10am-4pm

Facilities: Wireless network will be available, meeting room and (tbc) a smaller breakout room

Transport: …

Posted in Events | Also tagged and | 11 Comments
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