Our Open Letter to Susan Aitken

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Dear Susan,

I am writing to you concerning a recent interview you gave to The Herald newspaper.

I was pleased to see, more than four years into your leadership of Glasgow City Council, you give an indication of how you envisage Glasgow will face the challenges of the years ahead– especially around the climate crisis, public transport, infrastructure and inequality.

Although we may have different ideas about how these challenges can be tackled, it was nevertheless refreshing to hear you speak in frank terms about your vision for Glasgow moving forward.

I look forward to engaging with you further on how the Council can best address these issues.

However, I was concerned by a section of the interview entitled ‘An end to council paternalism’.

Whilst I agree that community empowerment doesn’t begin or end with local government, and I appreciate your embracing of the core Conservative principle of personal responsibility, it is not good enough for Glasgow City Council to simply seek to shift blame onto the citizens we serve and to whom we are accountable at all times.

I was especially alarmed by the stated intention within the interview, of the Council, to “give Glasgow a deep clean ahead of world leaders arriving” despite an anonymous source briefing that “we can’t be seen to clean up for Joe Biden and not the people”.

While we all want to ensure that Glasgow is seen at its best during COP26 when the eyes of the world will be on us, it must be the Council’s priority to keep our city looking its best all year round.

It shouldn’t need or take the President of the USA or other visiting dignitaries to get the Council to clean up our streets.

You will be aware of the Glasgow Conservatives campaign to declare a cleansing crisis in the city, and of our push to reverse some of what we believe to be counterproductive environmental policies that have been pursued by your administration.

It would seem, if you are preparing to “deep clean” the city in preparation for COP26, that you share my concerns around the state of Glasgow’s environment. I welcome this admission, albeit it is belated.

Therefore, I would invite you to take urgent action to reverse your administration’s cut to bin collections, introduction of bulk collection charges and general malaise when it comes to keeping Glasgow’s streets in a basic state of cleanliness. 

Following your interview, I would welcome your response to the following questions which arise,

Can you confirm if the reports of such a “deep clean” prior to COP26 are true?

If these reports are correct, can you please explain where the resources for such action will be coming from?

Further to this, can you please explain why your administration feel a ‘one-off’ deep clean is preferable to getting the Council focused on keeping our city in good order as standard throughout the year?

I hope you will seriously engage with the questions I have raised on behalf of the people we represent in Glasgow and in the interest of openness and transparency this letter will be made public.

I look forward to your timely response.

Best Wishes,

Councillor Thomas Kerr

Leave your comment