IN last week’s column I wrote that this city needs a genuine “Team Glasgow” response to the economic emergency that coronavirus has created after the leader of the council, Susan Aitken, announced a Social Recovery Taskforce with no cross-party representation.

This came after last month’s article in which I highlighted the £155 million worth of funding from the UK Government designed to help local authorities that the Scottish Government is hoarding despite commitments to hand over the money to hard-pressed councils.

For Glasgow, our share of this money amounts to around £17m. Not nearly enough to plug the black hole in our finances as a result of this deadly pandemic – but it’s a start. Last week, Cosla president Alison Evison confirmed not only that local councils are still waiting for the £155m, but that they face an additional £100m budget deficit that is likely to grow in the months ahead. The Scottish Government was already starving local authorities of resources. Now councils are under more financial pressure as a result of responsibility for delivering “shielding” services as well as social care, “Test and Protect” and key worker hubs.

Glasgow has a minority SNP administration that time and time again has not stood up for the city against its Holyrood party masters. Despite knowing the implications of her Government’s approach to council finances, the council leader thought it wise to retweet the architect of this policy – the Finance Secretary Kate Forbes MSP – who, in usual SNP style, attempted to pass the blame for her indifference to local government finance on to someone else.

Well I have a message for Kate Forbes – the people of Glasgow don’t care what your “preferred distribution methodology” is and they’re sick of the excuses. They want the city to be adequately funded by your government and for taxpayers’ money to not be wasted on SNP vanity projects to advance your separatist agenda.

Susan Aitken is not alone in her party’s city representatives in putting the SNP first and Glasgow second. Despite being the chair of the Glasgow City Joint Integration Board which has responsibility for social care, Mhairi Hunter has been silent on Jeane Freeman’s shambolic management of care homes – with the National Records of Scotland confirming last week that more people have died with coronavirus in our care homes than in our hospitals. Her silence may have something to do with the fact that she also manages to find the time to work as Nicola Sturgeon’s campaign manager.

Glasgow East MP David Linden failed to speak out publicly on behalf of Forge Market traders who have been denied funds from his Government until he believed the problem had been rectified, at which point he was quick to take credit. Now it emerges that the vast majority of traders will probably not be eligible for grants because of the criteria devised by the SNP in another example of them differentiating and diluting the support offered to those in Scotland.

I came into politics not to represent the Conservative Party but to fight for the East End of Glasgow. Growing up under a Labour government at Westminster and an SNP government at Holyrood, I’ve seen first-hand how my area was always left behind and forgotten. I know that for most SNP politicians the reason why they can’t criticise their own party (other than it being reportedly prohibited in their constitution) is because of a fear that doing so will weaken the cause for independence. If you cannot scrutinise your own policies without the case for separatism coming crashing down, then the case is self-evidently weak. And if you can’t stand up for Glasgow because of a blind loyalty to your party, then you do not deserve to represent the people of this great city. It’s time Susan Aitken and her colleagues put Glasgow’s interest first, not the nationalist interest.