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JOHN ALEXANDER: Grateful, humbled and determined – why the SNP is uniquely placed to deliver for Dundee

First minister Nicola Sturgeon visited Dundee to congratulate John Alexander and his newly-elected councillors.. Photo: Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon visited Dundee to congratulate John Alexander and his newly-elected councillors.. Photo: Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media.

As the dust settles on the recent council election, Dundee’s verdict was as decisive as it was unique.

I am honoured and proud to lead the only majority SNP council in Scotland and our team in Dundee will repay the trust placed in us.

While returning a majority council administration of any colour is miraculous in a system that was designed to prevent such a return, to do so after more than a decade of propelling the city forward is incredibly humbling.

The SNP’s 18,302 votes are almost double that of Labour, at 9,740 – evidence of how much political change has occurred in the city since Labour were in power in the early 2000s.

Political change is, it’s fair to say, meaningless unless it delivers real and tangible results and it has done just that.

There can be no denying Dundee’s path has shifted dramatically over the last decade, from a somewhat misjudged and undervalued city to one which is now often seen through envious eyes.

That, of course, is no miracle. It is because of a steadfast belief in our city, in the people of this city and passionate leadership which leads from the front.

Readers will know that the last five years have not all been plain sailing, far from it. But they have been defined by ambition and political stability – two things key in helping our city achieve all that it can.

Dundee has changed for the better

The SNP came to power in Dundee in the immediate aftermath of the global banking crisis and the deepest recession since the Second World War.

And since then, Westminster’s austerity agenda and budget cuts, Brexit, a global pandemic, a cost of living crisis and more local challenges have all continued to heap on the pressure.

Dundee Waterfront, complete with whale sculpture, is now the envy of other cities. Photo: Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media.

In spite of all of that, our city has made its elbows felt and has led a significant regeneration.

Recent figures from ONS illustrated this perfectly – a 9.4% rise in employment over the last five years alone.

This will, I hope, continue to rise, spurred on by the city’s refreshing approach which has delivered the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc, the Waterfront redevelopment and attracted new opportunities such as Eden.

But that is just one part of our story.

Much still to do for Dundee’s new SNP-led council

We know the stark reality is that too many people face hardship in our city. And we are focused on improving their lives.

We have not shied away from those difficult issues. Indeed, it was the SNP who led the creation of the Dundee Drugs Commission and the Fairness (poverty) Commission.

Far from fearing critical feedback, we have always sought to shine a spotlight on the city’s problems and to work with city partners to do something about it.

Only by being honest about the scale of our problems can we meaningfully plan and work to address them.

Our recent budget commitment of a further £1.6 million to tackle social inequality is just part of that plan.

We know the next five years will throw considerable challenges our city’s way, not least the cost of living crisis.

But our promise to you is this: we will lead Dundee with grit, determination and ambition.

We are grateful for the faith placed in us, but we are not blinded by political success.

Dundee’s SNP council administration will serve the entire city and will do so in a way which delivers tangible results.

Thank you to everyone who voted, for any party or candidate.

John Alexander is the leader of Dundee City Council, SNP councillor for the Strathmartine ward and chairman of the Scottish Cities Alliance.

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