CRISIS? What crisis?

That was the clear message that emerged from last week’s full council meeting after the motion my Conservative colleagues put forward to declare a cleansing crisis in our city was rejected by the SNP administration and Green councillors.

It is a slap in the face to residents in the city who actually walk around our litter-strewn streets and have to witness on a daily basis the fly-tipped furniture left in and amongst overflowing bins that are riddled with rats. After Thursday’s vote, it can no longer be in any doubt. The SNP and Green councillors in City Chambers are oblivious to the emergency we face.

Perhaps because they are fortunate that they can jump in a taxi at the taxpayer’s expense or their minds are preoccupied with Holyrood elections, some nationalist councillors seem unconcerned and unfamiliar with the appalling extent of the crisis.

It was notable during the discussion on our motion, when the virtual background of one contributor showed images of fly-tipped rubbish across Glasgow, an SNP councillor quickly complained that this background was “offensive”.

What is actually offensive is the reality of communities across the city who are being failed by the lack of cleansing policies of this administration. What is offensive is that some elected representatives have still not woken up to the damage that is being caused to our streets and green spaces.

SNP council leader Susan Aitken, meanwhile, refused to defend comments in which she called for you – Glasgow taxpayers – to “step up” to the mark and clean up the city.

Instead of addressing her belief that basic council cleansing functions should be outsourced to the city’s residents, she proceeded to trash the reporting in this very paper that Glasgow has the fourth highest population of rats in the United Kingdom. She called it a PR stunt.

I call it the daily lived experience of the public and refuse collectors alike across Glasgow. She has a complete brass neck asking you to clean up the city to try to cover up her lack of leadership.

It was only a few months ago that a binman was taken to hospital after being attacked by a rat in Drumchapel. It is obvious to anyone that cares to face the facts that rats thrive in conditions of overflowing bins and uncollected refuse. It would have been nice for the council leader to take more of an interest in the policies of her administration that have caused the rat population of Glasgow to skyrocket rather than to turn her anger to the press for having the audacity to report the facts.

It is thanks to hardworking local journalists, in co-ordination with local community clean-up groups, that a spotlight is being shone on the state of cleansing services in Glasgow.

This week I spoke to Clyde One radio alongside an SNP representative from the council administration against a backdrop of some of the most horrific illegally dumped waste I have ever seen. The SNP councillor was clearly uncomfortable being asked to defend her party’s record against such scenes of environmental devastation. But that is nothing compared to how uncomfortable it is for local people to live and work in these conditions.

Readers will know that Glasgow’s Conservative councillors have pushed constantly to reverse the damaging SNP/Green cleansing agenda in Glasgow. Our fully costed proposals to scrap the bin collection cuts, scrap the bulk uplift charge and invest in frontline services were all opposed by the city’s nationalist alliance. At every turn we have been voted down and at every turn those councillors have prioritised their party loyalty over allegiance to their constituents. Shame on them.