Economist and lecturer

Born: September 16, 1946;

Died: November 29, 2019.

RICHARD Mowbray, who has died at the age of 73,was an economist and lecturer who once contested the Glasgow Hillhead parliamentary constituency, and was a regular contributor to the Herald’s letters pages.

He was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, the younger son of John and Ada, and brother of Michael. A shy, quiet, bookish boy, he flourished when he won a place at Chesterfield Grammar School, becoming an active member of its debating, and geographical and economics societies. A lifelong interest and involvement in politics developed, and he was highly critical of the policies of the Heath government.

When he began his undergraduate degree at the London School of Economics in 1965 he was already a member of the Labour Party. His progress from Labour, for whom he stood for parliament in Hillhead in 1979, through the SDP, the Alliance and onto pro- Conservative, pro-Brexit positions, were, he said, a sign that politics and parties changed, but his views had remained the same.

After graduation, he worked briefly at Rolls Royce in Derby, before returning to the LSE to do a Masters degree, then onto Glasgow University to study for a PhD, which he never completed. He met his future wife, Marilyn White, whom he subsequently married. They settled in Glasgow.

A career in education began in 1972 when Richard became a tutor at Swansea University before becoming a lecturer in economics at Paisley College of Technology the following year, where he continued to work until retirement in what had by then become the University of the West of Scotland.

As an economist, Richard lectured thousands of students, but he was, if anything, more passionate about real-life economics. Support for such issues as the sale of council houses to sitting tenants, a central plank of Thatcherite policy, saw him move away from Labour. He identified with whichever party or policy would achieve the best outcomes for ordinary people.

Richard was a formidable opponent, always ready with evidence of an economic or historic nature to demonstrate his points. It was this forensic ability to dissect an argument that made him a natural writer of letters to the editor of this paper. He took on all-comers on whatever was the issue of the day.

Richard loved sport; he was a keen golfer from the age of 12, and once completed the Old Course at St Andrews in 79, just seven over par. He remained forever loyal to his hometown team, Chesterfield FC, and also came to greatly enjoy Scottish country dancing, a hobby of Marilyn’s for many years.

Marilyn introduced him to opera, which he loved, and they enjoyed attending classical music concerts together. He loved good company, good wine and good food, as well as entertaining and cooking. Holidaying in Europe was another pleasure.

“Grumps” to his six grandchildren, Richard revelled in being a grandparent, taking great delight when he unexpectedly made them laugh or when he could see their photos in Facebook on his ageing iPad. He is survived by Marilyn, daughter Laura, son Neil and his six grandchildren, Daniel, Cameron, Lucy, Lily, Melissa and James.