Rhetoric about strivers and scroungers has dominated debate about welfare over the past year or so.
But we need to stop obsessing over who is or isn't entitled to what, and decide what kind of welfare system we want to have in Scotland.
For many years charities and the wider third sector have called for reform, but indiscriminately cutting people's benefit is not the way to go about it.
We have to look at the broader picture. Welfare is intrinsically linked to the long-term blight of poverty and inequality. We currently have a system which can create dependency and even increase inequality but it doesn't have to be like this.
The welfare system is a key tool which we can leverage to provide help and support to everyone who needs it, but equally as importantly to people break out of the cycle of poverty. We need to build a system that helps people to up-skill and grow in confidence. A system which places equal value on people finding jobs and people contributing in other ways, whether that's by volunteering or by taking on a caring role.
At some point, no matter who we are, we will need support of some kind. We all need to recognise this and forget about the us-and-them mentality which is unfortunately still being peddled by some media outlets.
Even the term "welfare" has negative connotations. We need a whole new way of thinking which starts from the premise that the welfare state is for everyone. It should support all of Scotland's people and help people to fulfil their potential and play a full role in community and economic life.
Welfare reform should be about creating a system that enables people to live independently, a fair system that exists to support everyone.
We need to prevent the type of situation one man who approached Bethany Christian Trust's Homemaker project found himself in. Lacking the basic household equipment to wash his children's school uniforms, as a single father of two - embarrassed and ashamed - he kept his children off school. This happened because he didn't have a washing machine to provide clean clothes for his children.
But what could a different system look like? The Campaign for a Fair Society is pushing for a new set of principles, which shift power back to families and communities. These include:
l Giving families support so that they are able to look after each other;
l Support and locating services in local communities;
l Everyone shares the same basic rights and entitlements;
l We all should receive the help we need to be in control of our own lives, and support to live that life.
I challenge anyone to argue with this proposition. Some people are adamant that the need to cut spending on welfare is non-negotiable but the Christie Commission warned that it would be wrong to let the financial situation dominate our thinking. I couldn't agree more.
Of course, short-term cuts may make initial savings but we need to take a longer-term view. The fact is that, over time, investment in social protection and assistance will save money. It will reduce the costs and the negative social impact of growing poverty and inequality - poor health, crime and family breakdown. Basically, we need to turn the "cost and affordability" argument on its head.
The current welfare reforms, alongside austerity cuts, are creating an "industry" around mitigation and crisis management as families reach breaking point.
It's not a question of whether or not we can afford X, Y or Z. We simply cannot afford not to have a serious rethink about the future of welfare in Scotland. If politicians, and the Better Together and Yes campaigns, really want to engage people in the referendum debate, they should start by focusing their efforts on telling us what shape welfare might take in the future. People are much more interested in that than political point scoring.
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