THIS past week, I have been in Brighton at the first in-person Labour Party conference since the pandemic struck. At the same time, it is both a strange and welcome return to something approaching normality after the shared challenge and trauma of the last year and a half.

Seeing friends and colleagues from across the UK for the first time in nearly two years has been such a heart-warming experience. Sharing stories about how our communities responded to Covid-19, how workers across the UK stood up in our time of need, and how important it is that the legacy of this pandemic is one of change and transformation.

Across the United Kingdom, it is Labour that is standing up and saying that the status quo simply was not good enough. That we can – and we must – strive for better as we rebuild our towns and cities.

I was especially delighted to have met with some of the Labour council leaders and metro mayors – Andy Burnham, Dan Jarvis, Tracy Brabin and others. I have written in this column before about the lessons we can learn from these figures – on bringing buses into public control, tackling homelessness and pioneering the transition to a net zero economy.

In these figures, we see what can be done with genuine, bold leadership. These are not abstract concepts for these bustling urban centres, they are becoming reality and starting to deliver real, and tangible, benefits for the millions that live there.

Glasgow, the fifth largest urban area in the entire United Kingdom, is being left behind.

While Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds are on the brink of exciting projects for the future, Glasgow is in the midst of a cleansing crisis. While their elected leaders challenge Government, our equivalent in Glasgow acquiesces to simply more cuts, and because of that our libraries and community centres remain shuttered.

In May next year, we will ask the people of Glasgow to put their faith in us to lead our great city. But we won’t ask them to take a leap into the unknown. We can point to examples right across our country of the benefits of Labour’s leadership.

And it is Labour leadership that is the difference.

We are a party rooted in communities, built on shared values, and unafraid to stand up for those communities.

Anas Sarwar addressed conference for the first time as the leader of the Scottish Labour Party. He directly challenged the SNP to back up their rhetoric with action. That is why he announced that Labour, if in power today, would raise the affordable warmth payment by £70.

In light of a Brexit-driven energy crisis, no-one should be forced to choose between heating or eating. While the Tories and the SNP wage a war of words, Labour is the party offering solutions to a cost-of-living crisis.

Compare that to the actions of the SNP in Glasgow – who have taken another £100 for energy bills out of the pockets of the city’s pensioners, just when they need it most.

This is what Labour leadership looks like. That’s the leadership that Glasgow deserves. Radical, bold and ambitious.