Glasgow needs 'Green shake up' to deal with waste issues, says newly-elected councillor

A young female councillor voted in ahead of incumbent Glasgow leader Susan Aitken does not want to play the “blame game” and give into “elements of misogyny” as she urged figures to work together to tackle the city’s major problems.

Greens councillor Holly Bruce, 28, who won against Ms Aitken in first preference votes at last week’s council elections, said there was “room for improvement” in council administration.

Her comments come after Ms Aitken faced criticism for her administration’s handling of the “waste crisis” impacting Glasgow.

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Last year, Glasgow was dubbed the rat capital of Scotland when research estimated its rat population had reached 1.3 million. Ms Aitken faced outrage from the public after telling Westminster’s Scottish affairs committee that “all cities have rats”.

The Scottish Green Party's Holly Bruce celebrates victory at the Glasgow council election count with fellow Greens (Photo: John Devlin).

However, Ms Bruce is worried some criticism of the SNP council leader is rooted in misogyny as she said parties should be “working together” rather than turning to “tribalism”.

Asked whether she agrees with criticism of Ms Aitken around bin issues, Ms Bruce told The Scotsman: “I think there’s an element of misogyny there, but there is also no doubt there are bin issues, but that’s with the administration as a whole.

“She’s not the only person making those decisions. The whole administration needs a shake up. There’s obviously things she’s said to the media and I feel those concerns, but I feel there’s a lot of blaming rather than working together.”

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The most-voted for Glasgow councillor said Ms Aitken would “probably not” get the same amount of criticism around waste management if she was a man. However, Ms Bruce added: “That’s not to excuse the administration who have not done enough.

“Waste affects us regardless of class and money, so investing in our waste services is a priority and working with communities is a priority.”

Green plans around waste management will be a “street-by-street” approach as Ms Bruce said each ward has its “unique issues”.

The 28-year-old said she was keen to focus on key problems such as waste issues, women’s safety and rent controls.

Ms Bruce said the Greens were “open to working constructively” with other parties as the political power hold of Glasgow City Council is yet to be revealed.

However, it is likely that with the most seats in Glasgow – 37 – the SNP will form a power-sharing agreement with the Greens, which hold ten seats.

Ms Bruce said: “There is nothing I can reveal so far, but there will be a full council in a week or two."

Discussing the Green’s position as ‘kingmakers’, Ms Bruce said: “The reason we won out in first preferences is because we’ve been campaigning for six months with activists that live in the area.

"It was a boots-on-the-ground campaign and it was a lot of hard work.

"It was through listening to people and the things they want are transport, rent controls and better waste management.

"I was out for six months and we didn’t see a lot of campaigning, so it just goes to show reaching out to people and listening works and that’s the culture we need to put into the council.

"We need to listen and work together because at the end of the day we are here to serve the people of Glasgow and what they need.”

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