AFTER a pretty horrific 2020 we all want to grab hold of signs of hope for the year ahead.

The approval of multiple covid vaccines is a big cause for optimism, though the new virus variant is a worrying reminder that the public health emergency must remain our immediate priority for some time yet.

It’s vital we keep our focus in the next few months to drive down community spread and vaccinate widely. That must include prioritising essential workers and many of those who’ve already been hardest hit by the pandemic. 

They must be at the heart of our recovery from the crisis, not those who made a huge profit from it.

Guaranteeing a Green recovery will be the aim of the COP26 global climate conference when it finally goes ahead in Glasgow later this year. That’s an opportunity we should seize locally as well as on a global scale. There are many good things happening in the region to bring about a zero carbon future, from the grassroots up, but we need to massively step up the pace of action.

The Council has declared a climate and ecological emergency but its actions are falling well short of the mark. 

It is more than two years since Green councillors demanded an emergency response but the Council is still only consulting on a climate plan that lacks focus, commits no new resources, and even waters down existing ambition.

The current SNP leadership likes to claim that cities like Glasgow will lead the world in this fight. 

The hard reality is that by locking in a 2045 net zero emissions target for the city, they’re not even prepared to lead Scotland.

2021 will also see elections to the Scottish Parliament. The EU trade deal has brought down the curtain on 2020, but in May we will have the chance to once again reject Boris Johnson’s Brexit Britain and begin the process of Scotland charting a new future as an independent European nation.

That will mean electing a pro-independence majority and all the opinion polls suggest that can happen by returning a record number of Scottish Greens MSPs. I’ll be giving my all to make sure my inspirational council colleague, Kim Long, is one of them. 

She will be an outstanding MSP for Glasgow who’ll work for a more compassionate, socially-just Scotland.

Because this election isn’t just about securing the majority for a new independence ballot. It’s about forging the kind of society we want an independent Scotland to be. 

One in which political and economic power is held by and works for everyone, not for a tiny elite. 

One in which nature is valued and protected and we take urgent and radical action to cut carbon emissions. And one in which delivering equality means advancing everyone’s rights, not pitting marginalised groups against each other.

Hope can be hard work at times, but to quote Michelle Obama’s words, history has shown us that courage can be contagious. 

Let’s make 2021 the year we spread our visions of a better Scotland.