Earlier this month Scotland's two biggest banks announced profits of £15 billion between them. That represents a tenfold increase in the 10 years since New Labour came to power.

The rich have never had it so good. The SNP's latest donor, Stagecoach boss Brian Souter, paid himself £98 million in salary and bonuses last year. That works out at £50,000 an hour. He pays his bus drivers £7.50 an hour.

There is an old saying that "he who pays the piper calls the tune". Wealthy businessmen don't give political donations out of generosity. It's an investment. They expect rewards in return. And they have been getting them. New Labour has introduced some of the lowest business and wealth taxes in the advanced world. Corporation tax was 52p in the pound under Mrs Thatcher; Gordon Brown has cut it to just 28p. The rich have never had it so good.

Following closely in the footsteps of New Labour, we now have the New SNP with a tax-cutting, big business-friendly agenda. The Tories and the LibDems are equally pro-big business and the rich. When the public say "they're all the same", they are closer to the truth than most of the political elite like to admit.

It is vital, then, that the Scottish Socialist Party voice in Holyrood remains a strong one, unshackled by businessmen and millionaire elites, presenting a radically different political prospectus. Instead of showering the rich with more money, we should be using the enormous wealth they've amassed over the past decades to benefit the whole of society.

One of the SSP's flagship policies in this election is for universal free public transport. Where free transport has already been introduced, for example in the Belgian city of Hasselt, passenger numbers have risen by 1000%. Compare that to the Scottish Executive's paltry target of a 1% increase in bus passengers and 2% of train travellers.

Scotland could create a publicly owned, expanded, green, clean, fast, efficient and free public transport network which would be the best in the world for less than £1bn.

How do we pay for it? One option would be adopt the French model of a payroll tax on businesses with over 10 employees, ring-fenced for public transport. In Scotland, congestion costs business over £1bn a year. A modest tax of around 2.5% of the total payroll would generate enough revenue to abolish fares and get Scotland moving again.

With our cities polluted, and congested and scientists ringing the alarm bells over global warming, we need some blue-sky and green-grass thinking. Free public transport, like the idea of a free NHS in the mid-20th century, is an idea whose time has come.