IN THE days between Christmas and the turn of the New Year it is traditional to look back on the previous twelve months and to speculate what the next year may bring.

This time last year we all hoped that we might slowly return to normal. Vaccines were finally available and their widespread deployment encouraged genuine hope that we could beat this pandemic and put the sacrifices and losses of 2020 behind us.

That wishful optimism has proved to be unfounded and March 2022 is likely to mark two full years of Covid measures.

The UK vaccine programme has been a significant success but, as the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has eloquently pointed out, unless or until the same levels of immunisation are achieved globally, we will not be able to defeat a global pandemic.

One way or another, the efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 and to keep pace with new variants and new outbreaks is likely to be the overarching theme of 2022.

This, of course, does not mean that everything else is put on hold or that other important issues and decisions, either as individuals or collectively, will be put on hold.

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Life goes on, just in a slightly different way.

For councillors, the biggest event of 2022 will be the council elections due to be held on Thursday, May 5.

Over the past few weeks, Glasgow Labour has been busily selecting our candidates for the election and most of our 43 candidates are now in place. In the 23 wards across the city, campaigning has already started.

Massive funding cuts forced on local government by the SNP government at Holyrood has brought councils across Scotland to the brink of crisis.

Here in Glasgow, since 2017, a supine and incompetent SNP administration has overseen a drastic decline in services, closures and cutbacks.

Glasgow’s reputation, both nationally and internationally, has been quite literally trashed.

The SNP’s most recent funding announcement is likely to cost Glasgow around £40 million in additional cuts unless there is a significant increase in Council Tax.

People are rightly protesting that they are expected to pay more and more money for poorer and poorer services.

I can make one confident prediction for 2022. Come the second week of May, Glasgow will either have an administration headed once again by the SNP or a new administration headed by Glasgow Labour.

Despite what Boris Johnson’s Tory cheerleaders in Glasgow might try to tell us, they are not the alternative.

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Their only realistic ambition is to beat the Greens for third place. Meanwhile, the Greens are increasingly little more than a semi-detached branch of the SNP.

Neither of these parties will be standing sufficient candidates to form an administration.

Glasgow Labour will not be presenting its full manifesto for several weeks, but I can promise you this: it will be a manifesto made in Glasgow, for Glasgow.

We will not make promises that we know we cannot keep or make spending commitments that we realistically cannot afford.

We will, however, be ambitious for our city and lay out a clear path to bring basic services back to the level that our citizens expect and deserve.

In May there will be a clear choice between continued decline and decay under the SNP or a Labour administration dedicated and committed to our great city.

The choice is yours.