IT’S almost five years since I was elected as West Dunbartonshire’s first-ever Green MSP. Our slogan for that election was that “a better Scotland needs a bolder Holyrood”.

With this term of Parliament now almost over, I’ve been looking back to check what the Greens have delivered against that pledge.

One area where we made a really tangible difference for local families was education.

I spent months warning the government and SQA that the system they’d chosen to replace last year’s cancelled exams would mean thousands of working-class young people having their grades lowered for no other reason than their postcode.

Sadly, I was proven correct but fortunately, the SNP were forced to rely on Green MSPs to win a vote in Parliament, so in exchange I demanded that all 124,565 lowered grades were restored.

As a result, a record number of working-class young Scots have applied to university this year.

And with schools reopening to more pupils this month, all staff and senior pupils will be offered regular voluntary covid tests, following Parliament’s approval of the Scottish Greens ‘Safe Schools’ measures, which I proposed last autumn.

We’re all aware of the strain our schools and their staff were under before this pandemic began though.

Years of budget and staffing cuts were leaving an impossible burden on the remaining staff and on pupils themselves.

Over the last few years, the Green MSPs secured changes to the tax system so that the richest people in Scotland pay more, raising hundreds of millions for our public services.

Just last month, a further £45 million was announced for schools, again following a proposal in our Safe Schools package winning majority support in Parliament.

There’s a huge amount still to be done, but in the last five years, of all the opposition parties, only Green MSPs have secured more cash for local services in West Dunbartonshire.

Locally, the highlight of my time as your Green MSP was undoubtedly our campaign to save Balloch and Loch Lomond from Flamingo Land.

Our historic community campaign won the first round, but with Flamingo Land coming back, I fully intend, if re-elected in May, to give my all to protect Loch Lomond’s world-famous natural environment and the local jobs and businesses it supports from their destructive plans.

Politicians should be judged on results.

Whether it’s our impact on education, or new schemes such as free bus travel for under 19s (coming this summer), Green MSPs have proven that we deliver for our communities.

That’s a record I’ll be proud to take to the voters this spring.