I’d like to start by inviting you all to make your voice heard in your community, by casting your vote for funding for the projects that mean the most to you.

There are some great local organisations looking for your support, so please visit wdn.community choices.scot to vote by 5pm this Wednesday, March 31.

It’s great news that the SNP administration’s no-cuts budget for 2021/22 was passed last week.

Thank you to all those who have worked incredibly hard to deliver a no-cuts budget despite the hardships brought about by Covid and Brexit.

In addition to no-cuts, we are providing women’s aid charities with crucial £40,000 funding, £200,000 for additional road repairs and £8,000 for small grants within communities, plus help for taxi drivers hard-hit by Covid rules.

I find it unbelievable that every other party – Labour, the Tories and the Community “Party” (one person) – voted against these additional measures.

The last person didn’t even give a reason for voting against them. In what way does it help the community to refuse community funds?

The Scottish Parliament elections are in May, and I would urge everyone to register for a postal vote.

You have until April 6 to register – go to mygov.scot to fill in the online form or request a form to be posted to you.

Getting your vote in early by post avoids the risk of you missing out on the day for any reason.

Having a strong leader in the Scottish Government has been especially crucial over the past year, so it is good news for us all that the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the Salmond affair.

I’m not convinced that members of the inquiry committee (which includes Dumbarton’s current MSP Jackie Baillie) can all claim the same.

The victims themselves contacted Rape Crisis to complain, raising concerns about the leak which “contained inaccuracies and distortions which appear to be intended to serve a political agenda”. Ms Baillie denies leaking the reports.

Meanwhile, opposition MSPs continue to lobby for the Union (so, in practice, Tory rule), despite women’s rights having dramatically worsened in England and Wales under the current Tory government.

Some politicians are turning a blind eye to women manhandled to the ground for protesting rape and murder, while they plot their paths to a cosy seat in the House of Lords.

In regards to fighting injustice, I do have some good news for us locally.

West Dunbartonshire’s biodiversity officer is now in place - an extremely important appointment as we fight to prevent the further plundering of our area’s great natural beauty.

We have no time to waste in moving to protect our futures.