I JOINED the Labour Party because of John Smith.

I had always been a supporter but when John died just over 20 years ago I was drawn closer to the Labour family. It was time to join the party and get active.

John's sudden death from a heart attack in 1994 left a terrible sense of loss, not just for his beloved wife, Elizabeth, and their three daughters but for the country as a whole. We were all left wondering what might have been had he not passed away.

As leader of the opposition with a big lead in the opinion polls, John seemed set to be the next Labour Prime Minister but it wasn't to be. We had lost a leader of integrity, personal decency, deep Labour values and a razor sharp Scottish wit and intellect.

The last words he spoke at an event the night before his death were: "The opportunity to serve our country - that is all we ask."

Powerful and poignant - and an approach to public service that should continue to inspire and challenge all of us who seek elected office.

SINCE the 2012 elections my administration has delivered more than half of our ambitious 100-pledge manifesto.

At the same time we have also made considerable progress towards our remaining pledges including our commitments to affordable warmth and renewable energy.

In fact our first wind turbine at Cathkin Braes has been generating power and community benefits since March last year, helping pay for our annual £100 Affordable Warmth Dividend for the over 80s.

Glasgow's growing reputation as a centre of excellence for renewable energy was highlighted last week when the organisers of the UK's largest renewable energy event, All-Energy, announced that it is moving to Glasgow from 2015 onwards.

All-Energy will debut at the SECC in May next year and bring around 7000 delegates to Glasgow, providing an economic boost of around £5million. It will be a centrepiece in our Green Year celebrations.

As the UK's first green energy super-city, Glasgow truly is the perfect home for the UK's largest renewable energy event. We have strong ambitions for a greener future and as a European leader in environmental sustainability.

Glasgow employs more people than any other area of Scotland in the renewable energy sector, with 18% of the total Scottish renewables in the city.

We see this as a major opportunity for growth over the coming years.

THE Year of Glasgow got under way this weekend as some of the biggest names in music took to the stage as part of Radio 1's Big Weekend.

Thousands of Glaswegians packed into George Square and Glasgow Green as Coldplay, Katy Perry, Paolo Nutini and Calvin Harris set the scene for what is going to be one of the most memorable years in our history.

The party has well and truly started.