Thursday's local elections are a chance for us to elect our local representatives and set our Council's priorities for the next four years. They come at a crucial time. We are at a crossroads, and the next four years will be vital for our city and our country.
How will our service be run, and who will run them? How will we recover from the pandemic and mitigate the damage being done by a disastrous Tory Brexit? How will we do our bit to cut pollution and tackle the climate crisis? These are some of the big questions that will be on the ballot paper.
Green votes make a big difference. Our plans will cut carbon emissions, boost public transport and build communities where everyone can afford to live, learn and work.
Our Green vision is a bold and ambitious one, with local democracy at its core. Councils shouldn’t be remote bodies that impose inflexible top-down solutions. They should be genuinely rooted in our communities, listening to people, and being truly responsive and representative.
There are 17 Scottish Green candidates standing across Edinburgh. Every single one of them would be a community champion and an asset to our City Chambers. They will all work to empower residents, prioritise people and the planet and build a fairer, greener and cleaner future.
They will build on the good work already done by Green councillors in Edinburgh. In the last election we secured eight councillors. They have worked with residents and community groups to protect vital services, expand recycling and secure a commitment and plan to reach near-zero carbon emissions by 2030.
All of our councillors will show the same positive and constructive approach to securing green change as Green MSPs have in the Scottish Parliament.
With Greens in government in Holyrood, we have secured record investment in wildlife, nature and recycling, as well as record support for walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure and free bus travel for everyone under 22.
In the months ahead we will be introducing a ban on many of the worst single-use plastics, a further increase in the Scottish Child Payment to £25 a week for every eligible child, and better rights for tenants, including rent controls.
This is a record I'm very proud of. It is the kind of positive change that can only come from having Green voices around the table and green priorities at the heart of decision making. We can do the same here in Edinburgh.
Thursday's elections will use a preferential voting system. This means that when you vote you should rank your candidates in order of preference, starting with your favourite.
Every vote counts, but it is your number 1 vote that is the most important and that will make by far the biggest difference. Ranking Scottish Green candidates first is the only way to guarantee more Green councillors and more of the green change that we so badly need.
This city belongs to all of us. We would all benefit from cleaner air, safer streets and measures to tackle the cost of living and the climate crisis. So, when you vote this Thursday, think global, act local and give your number one vote to the Scottish Greens.