WELCOME to the latest episode of the Scottish Ferries Debacle. We’ve already had boats that are years late, the collapse of a shipyard and the discovery that lots of cables need to be re-installed because they weren’t measured properly.

Now, in the latest twist, we have a damning Audit Scotland report and a government that doesn’t seem to know who signed off on a high-value, non-standard contract – something which happened (entirely co-incidentally) just before an SNP conference.

There are calls for a public inquiry, but it’s not clear how yet more party-political positioning and point-scoring is actually going to change anything, especially for the island communities that, in a sensible country, would be at the heart of this ongoing scandal.

Fortunately, there is in fact a solution to the problem of a country with nearly a hundred inhabited islands being unable to sort out a functional ferry network. Put simply, we need to make this a practical, rather than theoretical, issue for those who run the country.

Let me explain.

READ MORE: Kenny MacAskill attacks SNP over 'failures' on Ferguson Marine ferry deal and ScotWind auction

The first step is to sell the Scottish Parliament. If we’re honest it should never have been built in its current location – hidden away at the foot of a hill on the country’s remote east coast – and it is time to undo that error. The land, buildings and fixtures are worth a few hundred million all in, which isn’t too bad, and we could maybe even get a bit more from the right hedge fund or housing developer.

It’s not hard to imagine the whole thing being turned into luxury serviced apartments, or even just fancy flats that rich Londoners could buy as second homes.

With Holyrood no longer weighing us down, the next move would be to establish a new parliament building somewhere more appropriate. Arran or Bute could work, but Mull seems to me to be the best option, offering a mix of a central location and, in Tobermory, a bustling and attractive town with plenty of existing infrastructure.

A new building would be needed, of course, but the proceeds of the Holyrood sale should more than cover that, especially when you remember that Scotland’s newest secondary school, which offers practical workspaces, meeting rooms and a large assembly area, only cost £30-odd million.

Once the parliament is up and running, it’s time to think logistics. We’ve all gotten used to the idea of remote working in the last couple of years, but I don’t think that’s really appropriate for MSPs.

Instead, we should insist on in-person attendance at the new parliament for at least four, and preferably five, days a week, thus ensuring that our elected representatives have the time and space to really wrestle with the major issues affecting the country.

NOW, of course, they’re going to need somewhere to stay, but that’s something they can sort out on their own. If teachers, for example, don’t need to be provided with accommodation when moving to an island community, then it’s hard to see why MSPs – who are the smartest and hardest-working people around – can’t handle this minor inconvenience as well.

The same goes for transport. While it may be tempting to provide MSPs with support to make it easier for them to get back and forth between their constituencies and the parliament building, I’m sure they wouldn’t actually want any sort of special treatment that is not extended to everyone else living on our islands.

So, no special rates on the ferries, for example, and certainly no prioritisation during busy periods. Again, it just isn’t necessary. And while we’re at it, we should probably be cutting MSPs pay and expenses as well. This would bring these very important politicians into line with many island economies and societies, where average incomes are often lower than other parts of the country.

READ MORE: Ferguson Marine was right thing to do, Scottish Government insists

Sure, the cost of living is sky high, and representatives from Glasburgh might suffer a bit of an initial shock when they see the price of petrol, heating oil or a weekly shop, but this obviously isn’t a problem for existing island residents so I’m sure elected representatives will manage just fine.

Yes, there will be teething problems: I imagine that more than one MSP will be upset at the sight of so many Gaelic road signs, but they’ll get over it. There will be a lot of tourists around in the summer months, but people who have been working in Edinburgh won’t be phased by that. The mobile phone signal might be a bit patchy, but have you ever tried to call someone inside the current Scottish Parliament?

And consider what we’d be getting in exchange. Imagine how much better our country would be if we stopped obsessing over a tiny strip of land between Greenock and Dunbar, got rid of a remote and ignorant parliament that holds us back, and opened up our politics to reflect the nation in which we really live.

If nothing else, at least we’d finally get some working ferries.