I am proud that city students are making positive contribution to debate

LAST Wednesday I took part in a debate organised by the Glasgow University Students' Union as part of the university's referendum on independence.

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The enthusiasm and professionalism shown at the debate by the organisers and the students were impressive – I think there are some things MSPs at Holyrood could learn from how non-politicians conducted themselves in the heat of debate. The whole referendum campaign is being organised by the students themselves, and has featured debates on gender and independence, and foreign policy in an independent Scotland.

The referendum has also captured attention beyond the world of student politics, with national coverage featured on STV and BBC.

I am very proud that Glasgow's students are making such positive contributions to the debate.

This generation of young people have grown up with devolution, and now they have the chance to engage with Scotland's constitutional future – a once in a lifetime event.

Young people have the most to gain from an independent Scotland, and their future will benefit the most from a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.

Fairness and vision are undoubtedly at the heart of this debate.

It was 10 years ago that many of us, from various political parties and none, stood shoulder to shoulder to demonstrate here in Glasgow at the imminent invasion of Iraq.

That invasion shaped my politics and made me think that never again should our sons and daughters have to risk their lives for an invasion we do not agree with and that is based on the premise of a lie.

It again demonstrates why we should make decisions here in Scotland in our nation's best interest.

This message is resonates with young people, with a recent poll for the Times showing that support for independence among 18 to 24-year-olds has more than doubled to 58%. The momentum is shifting but we know there is still much more work to be done.

This week also brought the fantastic news that Glasgow has made the shortlist of just three cities in the race to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

I remember waving off the Youth Olympic Ambassadors (at 5.30am!) when they were taking Glasgow's bid to Lausanne in October, and I know how much making the shortlist means to everyone involved.

Securing the Youth Olympics in 2018 will allow young people in Scotland and the rest of the world to take the next step on Glasgow's journey as a city of sporting excellence, empower young people and go a long way in continuing Glasgow's reputation as a modern vibrant city that welcomes international visitors from across the world.

Let's keep everything crossed to make sure we win the bid!

Local government

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