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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.

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