WE ARE shortly going to the polls for Council Elections. No – please don't turn the page – I've a confession to make.

A high percentage of mail I get is about council-related issues. As an MP, voters think you can resolve almost anything. And it's true my job as an MP takes in a huge range of issues from immigration and foreign policy to social security and pensions.

My colleagues in Holyrood work hard on a mountain of devolved areas including farming, health and education. But bread and butter issues that affect every one of us every day of our lives are handled by councils across the country. And specifically, by the hard-working, underpaid, and often under-appreciated folk we are about to elect.

Some MPs, I hear, hand over problem-solving to their councillors and claim credit when issues are resolved. I can imagine just how irritating councillors must find this. After all, they don't stand for election for glory. On the whole, they don't get to pop up on 'Question Time' to talk about their triumphs.

And goodness knows, they don't do it for the money. councillors get paid £18604 a year. (And sometimes get grief from employers when they take time off to work on council-related business.)

No, councillors – cross-party – stand for election because they care passionately about their communities and want to make people's lives better. They deserve every possible credit for all that they do.

Councillors wield enormous power for both good and ill. Anyone who has ever driven through central Glasgow and seen the vast areas of the city laid waste by councillors in the 1970s and 80s in an orgy of destruction will know how important it is to elect wise folk able to resist planners and developers who do not always appear to have their citizens' best interests at heart. To this day, people often say 'what were they thinking?'

But, at their best, councillors take long-term decisions that will enhance their communities for generations to come – over schools and roads, parks and leisure facilities. They plan and deliver swimming pools, ice rinks and sports fields that will nurture sports stars and Olympic champions of the future.

I've been looking at some of the candidates standing this time around. Some are very young. And to the curmudgeons who say you have to have been around the block a few times to help make multi-million-pound decisions I'd say 'why'? Our communities are multi-generational. So why not those who lead us and make decisions about our future?

For the record, I'd like to see better paid, full-time councillors and directly-elected provosts. I think it would help the public engage with the work councillors do and improve accountability. But that's a decision for another time. Our job now is to elect people we can trust on May 5. We can't girn about the results if we don't vote. So please do. We can always girn later.