HAPPY New Year, Glasgow!

We start this year with some cautious optimism that Covid-19 is finally in retreat.

With the booster programme a roaring success alongside our brilliant UK vaccine programme, this year begins in a much better place than the last.

That is by no small part thanks to the wonderful support and dedication of our NHS, armed forces and vaccinators who have done a power of work over the past two years to keep us safe.

However, it also brings another year of challenges as well.

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Scotland once again finds itself at a crossroads thanks to the incompetent, and quite frankly delusional, nationalists we have in power.

It looks set to be another year the SNP will spend on sowing divisions within our communities, creating faux grievances, and banging on endlessly about the constitution rather than on the vital mission of Scotland’s recovery.

Just last week a photo was released by the charity Homeless Project Scotland, which should shame every politician in the City Chambers no matter their party allegiance.

A fellow Glaswegian, lying cold and alone, outside our place of work.

We must as a council, and as a country, do more to support the most vulnerable in our society.

No party or government has done enough, and we must recognise that.

Yet did Glasgow City Council accept any responsibility? Of course not.

Further to this, you could imagine my dismay when I read the city convener for health and social care, councillor Mhairi Hunter, comment in this paper to attack me personally and blame Boris Johnson.

We should be working together to end rough sleeping and homelessness, to support charities like Homeless Project Scotland and stand together to accept that more needs to be done and that the council plays an important role in that.

I want to spend this year on issues like this, the ones that matter to Glaswegians – homelessness, business support, the waste crisis, our children’s schools, tackling crime, ending our drug crisis and improving our health service.

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Unfortunately, I have little hope that this will be the Scottish Government’s focus.

The First Minister has already made it clear that she will use the local elections for yet another push for a second referendum and Scottish Labour are talking about allowing pro-independence candidates to stand.

Glasgow deserves better than it has had for decades with successive Labour and now SNP administrations more focused on internal party struggles than
on the people they purport to serve.

This year can be the year that Glasgow finally turns away from the SNP/Labour duopoly that has consistently let down all who live here.

It can give the city a new lease of life as we bid farewell to those who, if in the private sector, would have been shown the door by now.

The elections in May give us that chance.

And it’s with that cheery thought that I bid you all a very happy new year!