GLASGOW’S reinvention in recent decades has been nothing short of remarkable.

The scars of post-industrial Glasgow continue to give way to a vibrant, creative and innovative city, our internationally regarded community regeneration transforming the blight and decay within our neighbourhoods. Where once we built ships we now blaze a trail in satellite manufacturing. No Mean City is now synonymous with a globally renowned welcome and hospitality.

What hadn’t kept up with the pace of change was our local political culture and structures. Instead of the freshness of approach needed to ensure that all our citizens could benefit from this transformation, Glasgow’s political custodians preferred to cling to their old ways and plans long past their time.

Two years ago the people of Glasgow voted for the necessary change. They didn’t just vote for a change of political administration but for a different vision for our city and how it faces the future.

No party in any of Scotland’s 32 councils emerged from the 2017 local elections with an overall majority. But while the SNP topped the poll in every single city ward, Glasgow Labour, with its 80-year run of almost unbroken rule, saw its support plummet. Our citizens had clearly had enough of fiefdoms, cronyism and sinecures, and of that deeply ingrained culture of control, tribalism and power at all costs which for too long had characterised local politics.

Looking back over the past two years the SNP city government has much to be proud of.

We have resolved Labour’s discriminatory pay policy, which haunted this authority for far too long – a systematic and ingrained inequality presided over and perpetuated by a succession of Labour leaders. Money owed will start being paid to claimants next month; half a billion pounds withheld from some of the council’s lowest-paid workers by a party that claimed to speak on their behalf.

We brought Barclays, in the largest inward investment ever announced in Scotland, to the banks of the Clyde and work on that site in Tradeston is under way. Not only have we brought thousands of high-quality jobs to Glasgow, we have also ensured that hundreds of these posts will be set aside for those who have struggled to get into the labour market. We secured one of the creative hubs for Channel 4, which last week started advertising for commissioning editors, a huge boost for this key sector in the city.

Our holiday hunger programme and Universal Credit hubs help mitigate the effects of Tory austerity. We’ve expanded provision of free early learning and childcare for three and four year olds to 900 hours a year for households with an annual income below £40,000, with universal provision of 1140 hours from next year. We are the first city in Scotland and the second after London to put in place a low-emission zone and have announced our ambition to be the first net zero carbon emissions city in the UK.

And just last month our independent Connectivity Commission unveiled solutions to transport challenges that have dogged the city for generations. These are not futuristic proposals but the type of transport projects our European peer cities have been embracing for the past 30 or 40 years.

In the next few weeks and months we’ll begin public engagement on plans to redesign and revitalise George Square, announce details of work to adapt our primary school estate to give it the physical capacity to provide free school meals for every child from P1 to P7, publish strategies on built heritage and derelict land and confirm which parts of the city will benefit from the first tranche of investment in new Community Hubs.

We’ve appointed Neighbourhood Officers across the city and will soon publish details of how our new Inclusive Growth Fund will be invested and the practical measures we’ll take to make Glasgow a Fair Work City.

These are just some of the tangible successes we have achieved in a short space of time. What will take considerably longer is changing a deeply embedded culture, an accepted way of doing things that has characterised Glasgow politics for too long.

Turning that culture around is a longer term task than implementing policies, even challenging ones. But it will be crucial to the SNP delivering on its ambitions for Glasgow and its people, improving the life chances and life choices for all of our citizens.

And for those of us who want a fairer, more equitable and prosperous future for our country, it is absolutely critical that we get Glasgow right. Our city is the powerhouse of the national economy. We are Scotland’s metropolis, the city where ideas are forged. And we can become the engine room for independence.

That road began considerably before May 2017. If there is any solace from the result of September 2014, it was that Glasgow voted Yes and the acknowledgement on the faces of Labour members that our city had changed. Irreversibly.

THE Westminster and Holyrood elections since then bear this out. And for the first time in a local election in Glasgow, parties supporting independence secured a majority of the popular vote. There is so much that we can achieve if we have the will, the drive and the vision to make Glasgow the city we know it can be.

It was once said that one of the great advantages of devolution was that it could begin to demonstrate what independence could look like. I believe that under the SNP city government – our ideas, the partnerships we build, the approaches we take – Glasgow can be a harbinger for a future independent Scotland. We should not shirk from taking the tough decisions or being bold but we should also be open to compromise and reaching out.

As the role of cities becomes more and more important, we are playing a very active role in a number of international networks. Our peers from across Europe recognise a city refusing to be constrained by the backward-looking agenda of the UK Government, and have reached out to us in a spirit of friendship and collaboration. This is the Glasgow we are becoming and are determined to continue to be. This is what an international and inclusive independent Scotland will be.

The people of Glasgow have entrusted us with the levers to the vital frontline services they rely upon. We must repay that by showing how we can match our vision with action.

The notion that we could change things overnight, that the challenges and deprivation our city faces could be quickly overcome, is simply unrealistic. But we have signalled and put in motion the Glasgow we want to deliver. No-one needs reminding of the ravages of addiction on families and communities. The SNP city government has led the push for a safe consumption facility in Glasgow, adopting a model which has been successful in saving lives and helping recovery in many European cities.

Votes in the Tory shires of England clearly mean more than the lives of Glaswegians and the Tory Government continues to say no to our calls. But we will keep making the case because ours is a progressive city, where evidence and compassion inform our approach, not tough rhetoric.

But it is so vital that we try to take all of Glasgow with us. Our vision for Glasgow in an independent Scotland needs to recognise that Glasgow doesn’t belong to any one group of people or to any political party. Our city belongs to all of us and we all have a role to play in building a better Glasgow.

I’m proud to lead this SNP city government. Ours is the day job. But it is also to begin that process of shaping the city our citizens deserve, to have bigger ambitions for Glasgow and its people and to deliver them.