GREENS stand for grown-up politics and we make a difference People rightly expect their politicians to work hard, to listen to them, and to stay true to our values. They also expect us to make a positive difference to their lives. Sometimes, making the biggest possible difference means putting aside tribal, partisan politics.

By the time this column appears, the detail of a proposed political cooperation agreement between Scottish Greens MSPs and the SNP Scottish Government will have been revealed. The final decision on whether or not to agree to any deal rests with Scottish Green Party members, and I’m sure all will be studying the proposals intently. The key question will be whether this deal gives us more of a chance to make a positive difference to people’s lives by being in Government, than we would achieve through vote-by-vote negotiations from opposition. That’s an approach that’s delivered impact over the last parliament. Green MSPs secured universal free school meals from P1 to P7, and free bus travel for under 22s. Before that, they won Scotland’s more progressive income tax system.

Whether we embrace the chance to drive change from within Government, or stay in constructive opposition, Greens are prepared to reach beyond our own comfort zone - and we expect the same from others. That’s grown-up politics.

Green councillors measure ourselves by the same standard, and over the last Council term, in a chamber where no single party has had a majority, we’ve made our influence count.

Whether that’s securing the 2030 net zero carbon target in the council’s new climate plan, or setting up a tenant-led commission to in response to the housing crisis. Or whether that’s winning budget commitments, such as £7m investment to replace the Council’s most polluting heavy vehicles with clean hydrogen-powered alternatives, or £2m for anti-poverty measures coming out of the pandemic.

When the Communities Fund calamity threatened scathing cuts to advice and law centres and women’s aid, we sat down and negotiated transitional funding and a process of reform.

On cleansing, we know that the city faces serious challenges. The council has made excuses for abysmal recycling rates for far too long and it has invested in the wrong things. That’s why we put forward unanimously-agreed improvements to the council’s new Resource and Recycling strategy, including actions on increasing the range of plastics households can recycle, on requiring our plans for new Scottish Government funding to prioritise waste prevention, reuse and repair first, and on involving communities more in the design of their local services.

We don’t always get our way. Early on, we hoped to speed-up delivery of the city’s Low Emission Zone. In the end, the SNP administration pushed their low ambition timetable through with Tory votes. That was their choice, and with the scheme now delayed even further, we have continued to challenge them on it. But sniping on social media, like others do, doesn’t solve the issues we face. At worst it encourages more of the abuse, often misogynistic, that all parties agree must be stamped out. Feeding populist narratives, instead of setting out a positive vision for change.

Greens will always stand for honest, principled, grown up politics. That’s why we make a difference.