As MSPs prepare for our first week back at Holyrood after summer recess, entering the final year of this parliament and as selection contests take place across the country, I find myself thinking about what makes a good politician.

Some people think it’s your background, others life experience or being an inspiring public speaker.

According to Billy Connolly the very desire to be a politician should preclude you from becoming one – it’s funny because there is a kernel of truth in there, but not the whole story.

Over the years I’ve worked in this environment, I’ve come to believe that what makes a good politician is not where you live, your job history or your age.

I think a good politician – whether councillor, MSP or MP - quite simply is someone who cares.

Now, more than ever, we need representatives in Glasgow who care and can stand up for the populations most at-risk to the cuts agenda coming from Westminster and Glasgow City Council.

Since I was first elected in 2011 we have seen an exponential growth in the number of foodbanks operating in our city.

The need for foodbanks is a stain on our society, however, it is also unsurprising given the ideology of suspicion aimed at the most vulnerable, prevailing from the UK government.

On top of that there are threats being made to services for carers and disabled people, as carers centres are put out to tender by Glasgow City Council, such as the South West Carers Centre in Glasgow Pollok.

These are not people who have chosen to be in the situation they find themselves in – unpaid carers save the NHS and the UK economy an estimated £87 billion a year.

The UK government and GCC should be rewarding them for their service, not punishing them.

Our challenge as we go back to parliament shortly will be, regardless of politics, to work together to help those who need a voice.

That is the very essence of politics – not oratory skills or being a policy wonk – but a desire to do well by every constituent, especially those who are most vulnerable or less able to make themselves heard.

Earlier this week I met with representatives of Police Scotland and was interested to hear about this month’s crackdown on hate crimes.

A hate crime is any crime which relates to a person’s gender identity, faith, disability, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Every individual in Scotland has the right to walk the streets alone safely and use public transport and social media freely - we must be vigilant in standing up to bullies who are motivated by hate.

Some attacks are physically violent and others emotionally scarring, both are wrong, both are hate crimes. Barely a week goes by in which I don’t receive racist and Islamophobic messages on Twitter and Facebook, and while I have become somewhat inoculated to them, I try to make sure I report every incident – so should you.

It’s important to remember that the voices of good will always outweigh the bad, however, we should never allow the bigots the freedom of the Twittersphere or Facebook to spew their vitriolic hatred.