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The cost of living crisis is the biggest and most serious challenge to our standard of living in decades, yet by the UK Government’s response, you’d think we were living through perfectly normal times.

It is unacceptable that households are now being forced to choose between heating and eating. We are a wealthy country and yet millions of people are facing a drop in their standard of living unseen since the 1970s.

We should be clear – the fault for this lies almost entirely at the door of the UK Government. No other government has been so unwilling to help its own people as the occupants of Downing Street.

Other countries in Europe have acted swiftly to protect their citizens – Norway put a hard cap on price rises, protecting households, while France has limited increases to 4%, in contrast to the 54% jump in UK prices.

Ireland slashed petrol and diesel costs by four times the drop in the UK, while Sweden introduced a package of measures boosting support for children with families, funding take-up of electric cars, and slashing fuel taxes to their lowest possible level.

Meanwhile the UK government spent decades encouraging the deregulation and privatisation of the energy market, with utterly predictable results, and when the costs began mounting up for ordinary people, their answer is to put every household in the country into even more debt on their electric bill.

Those increased energy and fuel costs are feeding through to the wider economy, with lorries costing more to fuel and food producers paying more for raw materials.

At the same time interest rates continue to creep up, hitting mortgage holders, and inflation is now predicted by the Bank of England to hit over 8% later this year.

Add in a Brexit the UK Government were warned would increase prices and cost jobs – a Brexit we voted against - and Boris Johnson and his cronies have unleashed a perfect storm on Scotland.

More and more the UK is showing itself as a failed state, with a corrupt elite hanging on to power despite police investigations, a governing party funded by Russian mobsters, and a gurning Prime Minister obsessed with style over substance.

We’ve got a Chancellor who doesn’t know how bank cards work, a Foreign Secretary considered the punchline to a bad joke by the rest of the world, and a Home Secretary who seems to revel in the cruelty and inhumanity she inflicts on the rest of us.

And when questions are asked – for example of the Chancellor’s wife’s financial interests in Russia, or the fixed penalty notices being handed out to senior Downing Street staffers for partying while the rest of us were in lockdown – we’re told to stop our impertinence.

It would make a good comedy series if it weren’t our lives these people are playing games with.

The original Palace of Westminster was built on swamp and marshland, in what was described at the time as, “the dreadful spot which is called Westminster”. Every day is sinks further into that putrid mess, and trying to drag the rest of us with it.

Fortunately, we have an alternative and the chance to shape our own future here in Scotland, and ditch the failed system imposed by the UK for a better way of doing things.

No other country in Europe has the natural and human wealth that we do, yet faces such stark challenges simply to keep the lights on and food on the table.

It’s time we changed that and built a better Scotland that uses that wealth for the common good, not a chosen few.


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