THE now apparently routine labelling of anything governments can’t work out a solution for as “emergencies” is beginning to smack of the same sort of distraction as the use of the words “supercharge” and “superpower” to describe vague statements designed to camouflage the fact that a policy is simply fluff.

The housing crisis will not be resolved by grandiose but effectively meaningless statements of recognition. It will only be resolved, along with many other social priorities, when an appropriate level of funding is applied to it.

The problem ultimately lies in the fact the Scottish Government does not have access to sufficient funds to address our many priorities. If money is diverted to the housing issue, at this point it can only come from funds currently earmarked for other spending areas, such as climate change, infrastructure development, education and eliminating child poverty.

As time goes on and discretionary spending is increasingly constrained by a very limited supply on one side and an ever increasing level of prior commitment on the other, we are going to be faced with successive intractable “emergencies” none of which we can afford to address effectively. It is akin to the problem local authorities face with rising statutory requirements and stagnant income.

This is not to say available funds couldn’t be used more efficiently but even the best organisations can only do so much without access to new funding.

Tinkering around the margins of income tax and flirting with council tax reform only provide a stick for Unionist parties to beat us with. If we’re going to open up the funding conversation at least it should be a way that make a meaningful difference.

It’s well past time for “nationalist” parties to come together and agree a strategy for radical change to the funding model, including a well-rehearsed justification to bring voters along with the project.

A truly progressive and demonstrably workable system, properly explained, would force the UK Government to either agree or veto the proposal.

Either way, it’s a win for the independence argument. We show people there’s a better way that could get even better in an independent Scotland, or we show them there could be a better way if we were free of the UK’s overlordship.

To kick the process off, a commission, representative of the population at large, could be assembled to take evidence from the many people and organisations that have done excellent work in this area and to hear arguments from interested parties.

The commission would be provided with the support required to prepare draft legislation based on its recommendations. The Government would be required to either place the legislation before Parliament or to arrange for a referendum on the recommendations. With a will to do so, the plebiscite could be run in parallel with the 2026 election.

I and many others would be more than happy to be associated with progressive economic policies that increasingly reactionary UK governments consider to be “extreme”, and would be very interested to see how Labour in Scotland explain why their bosses don’t agree with us.

It’s past time the forces of “nationalism” did a bit more to deserve the description of “extremists”, in a democratic, non-violent way of course, as clearly it’s not necessary to be either violent or undemocratic to deserve that description these days!
Cameron Crawford