I KNOW regular Glasgow Times readers will be aware of this but I want to make my position clear once again on Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone.
For those in the back who maybe haven’t heard or those who are trying to be disingenuous about the Glasgow Conservatives stance, we are not opposed to the principles of Low Emission Zones.
What we have been fighting is the typically shambolic way the SNP and Green have enforced it – more on that later – and how they have acted like they know best and ignored the concerns of businesses and working-class communities.
I want Low Emission Zones to work. As the father of my new baby boy Joshua, I want to be able to tell him that I played a role as a Glasgow councillor in tackling the climate emergency facing our city.
However, I have been utterly dismayed by Glasgow’s SNP-led council’s attitude throughout this process, ably backed up by their extremist Greens friends.
Not once did they appear to care or heed the warnings from our taxi trade and Unite the Union who have talked about 1,000 taxi drivers being forced off the road. That would not only be devastating for them in a cost-of-living crisis, but also deeply damage our struggling city centre businesses and put at risk the safety of countless women like my fiancée Shannon as they aim to get home after nights out.
What was even more shameless was their last-minute U-turn on giving a wonderful charity like Homeless Project Scotland a last-minute exemption for its van.
Never mind the faux outrage from SNP councillors such as Allan Casey as he wailed about Douglas Ross bringing it up at Holyrood.
He knew fine well the U-turn was not public. His focus would be better spent on challenging his colleagues on why they opposed it in the first place and why despite the reprieve, the charity was forced to fundraise £15,000 for a new vehicle instead of using that to feed our vulnerable.
The scheme went from shameful to farcical as this paper revealed drivers were escaping fines on the first day of enforcement.
What a brass neck this Council have to moan about businesses and individuals raising legitimate concerns about this being enforced now when they haven’t got their own house in order.
I have been proud of the position I and my party have taken on this stance. We are not antienvironment, or opposing for the sake of opposing.
Unlike the SNP and Greens who ploughed ahead regardless – or Glasgow Labour who flip-flopped until the very last minute – we engaged at every turn and listened.
A delay until this time next year was sensible and would have given everyone breathing space.
Alas, the Green tail wagging the SNP yellow dog won out again.
Rest assured, I’ll be holding them to account at every turn as the likely mess unfolds.