Green councillors yesterday voted to ensure Glasgow City Council has a proportionate executive committee, which reflects its new political make-up, overturning an SNP proposal that they should have an in-built majority, despite being a minority administration.
The move means that the SNP will require support from at least one other party in order to pass business at this key decision-making body. This will allow us to support the SNP where they are pushing progressive reform and improve on their proposals where necessary.
This situation is a lot like that of the Scottish Parliament where Greens have won concessions from the SNP as part of providing constructive opposition.
In the Scottish Parliament we have shown how we can have a positive influence in a situation where the SNP do not have an outright majority, supporting them where we agree and challenging them when we don’t.
We have, for example, supported changes to the council tax, whilst noting it needs drastic reform, which helped raise £100m for educational attainment.
However, we have also pushed for the SNP to be bolder where it is needed.
We have won an agreement to look into providing a young carers allowance as well as securing an additional £160m of funding for local authorities, so important in maintaining vital services.
More recently, we have been successful in pushing the ‘Healthier Wealthier Children’ scheme which has ensured parents have received some £1m of funds they didn’t know they were entitled to.
These are just some examples of how our influence has improved the outcomes of the Scottish Parliament and we will continue to argue for bolder actions around areas like progressive taxation and land reform.
It’s disappointing that a handful of SNP councillors have claimed that we are ‘blocking radical change’ because we’ve stood up for the important democratic principle that a minority administration has no right to a voting majority.
If the SNP bring forward progressive proposals, we will support them and use our expertise to improve them where we can.
Unless they just expected a power grab, what exactly is the problem?
Greens were elected on a platform of revitalising local democracy and we will work to increase accountability and transparency in how the Council works.
The decisions made yesterday mean we can play a full role in shaping those much-needed reforms in the weeks and months ahead.