What has the council ever done for us?
Collected bins and fixed potholes.
Yes, of course, but apart from collect bins and fix potholes, what has the council ever done for us?
Provided nurseries, staffed our schools, and cared for the elderly and vulnerable.
Well, yes, but apart from the nurseries and…
Built affordable homes, tackled antisocial behaviour, supported local businesses, set policies to improve air quality, and provided us with access to green spaces.
Even as your MP I can say there is no level of government that has a more direct impact on our daily lives. The reality is councillors are the politicians making the decisions which impact your everyday living.
When it comes to providing a safe sanctuary for refugees, it is the willingness of the council that will – or will not – make that a reality. Of course, I play my role in holding the failing UK government to account on this, too.
When the National Care Service is created, it is our councils that will play a key role in incorporating current social care services. When the Scottish Government announced new provisions for child victims and witnesses, it is councils working in concert with Police Scotland that are delivering on this policy.
I challenge you to think of a national policy that does not directly involve local councils. Even the climate emergency, something that is clearly a global problem, is best approached at a local level. Take the district heating network in neighbouring West Dunbartonshire – a local project that has a meaningful impact on energy demands.
This is why the council elections on 5th May are so important. The people elected to represent us at East Dunbartonshire Council will have the power to affect almost every aspect of our lives over the next five years.
Do we want more of the same? Just look at recent events. When the Scottish Government made funding available to support older and disabled residents fit new fire alarms, East Dunbartonshire Council is one of the only local authorities who chose not to apply.
That was a dereliction of duty and the people of East Dunbartonshire suffered as a result.
Then there was the recent vote on libraries, with the SNP group bringing forward a motion to protect the long-term future and viability of these vital local services. Lib Dem, Tory, and even Labour councillors all voted against the motion.
A different group of councillors would have put political games aside and voted in the interests of their local communities.
That’s why your vote on 5th May really matters. We can have more of the same old, same old, or we can have a new crop of councillors who put East Dunbartonshire first.