IT has been almost 18 months since I was fortunate enough to be chosen by the residents of Baillieston to represent them as their councillor in the City Chambers.

During that time, I have had the opportunity to help and, hopefully, make better the lives and conditions of my constituents, often even in small ways, and that has justified the decision I made to enter politics even at this later stage in my life.

However, as elected representatives, we have to be realistic and truthful in our interactions with constituents, perhaps my own career experience has informed that aspect of my political persona.

I’ve found it essential to be honest with voters about what is achievable, whether that’s down to matters of finance, time or any other factor.

One consistent line of complaint from individuals and businesses alike has been how ineffectively managed our city and its economy has been for some time.

Like many Glaswegians, I too walk the streets of our town centre and see the dirty streets, boarded up shops, strewn litter and how tired and unloved the centre of Scotland’s biggest city now looks. I imagine other visitors, who provide valuable investment, also see the same.

Since the May 2022 council election, however, I look at it through an elected member’s eyes and feel a real sense of responsibility.

The Conservative group at the council meet regularly with representatives of all sectors of the community, many of whom perceive the city council to be, at best, complacent in its response to the post Covid and cost-of-living pressures they face or, at worst, guilty of making decisions that work against the good of our city economy.   

In the main, most voters have been equally realistic as I have been and understand how difficult it is for only two Tory councillors to affect change in a city council dominated by SNP/Greens marriage of convenience as well as a second division (and that’s a compliment) Labour opposition, who spend more time fighting each other than those running (or ruining) the show.

That doesn’t mean that we can’t and don’t punch above our weight to let the voices of those who generate the wealth that helps pay for council services have a forum in which to be heard.

Whether it be the self-employed, taxi drivers, small business owners or representatives of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and night-time trade, the Glasgow Conservative group meets and represents the voices of hard-pressed businesses, embattled by an SNP administration in thrall to an anti-growth and anti-business Green Party.  

Last Thursday, at Full Council, the Conservative group brought forward a motion which attempted to unite the council to recognise the value of investment to our city and to streamline the often cumbersome, lengthy and, to be frank, downright obstructive processes within council and its committees.

Unfortunately, this motion fell victim to the usual cabal of SNP/Green tinkerers who, in their slavish adherence to ideology over the practical support of our city, amended it out of recognition; turning a pro-city motion into the usual Green call for “radical climate action”, without spelling out what that would mean for Glaswegians.

This last year alone I have had to listen to lengthy debates about gentrifying or decarbonising our city. I do not doubt the worthiness of most of these aspirations, but they will be cries in the wilderness unless the council focuses on showing that Glasgow is open for business and open to businesses.

Voters of all persuasions are deeply concerned about how emerging from the recent crises our city looks worn and unloved. Unfortunately, the SNP administration in Glasgow as in Holyrood would rather wag their tail to the Green’s anti-business dog than unite the council to do what we are all there to do – Let Glasgow Flourish!