One of my very favourite cliches is: “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit.” You can pick your origin story and exact wording, but the meaning remains consistent: with the right investment and care, we have the ability to lay the groundwork for future generations, so that long after we are gone, they may live a more peaceful, content and enjoyable life than we could.

I’m a big believer that if there is a way we can alleviate suffering, or make the lives of others easier, longer, or more comfortable, then it’s something in which we should invest. We should not be so rigidly tied to the memory of overcoming our own struggles that we refuse to improve things for those coming after us.

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Free bus travel for under 22s as a policy came out just as I turned 23, and as someone who did a daily commute to university and work I could've saved many a pound over the years if that policy had appeared with a wee bit more haste.

Do I resent the people younger than me who are now able to fill their boots with free bus journeys? No, I think it's a fantastic initiative which will incentivise young people to use public transport, alleviating an unnecessary cost on people who most likely aren't in a strong earning position.

Ideas like the baby box scheme, which aims to give each child born in Scotland a more equal start in life, the campaign to end period poverty through making menstrual products more accessible for those who need them, or the Scottish child welfare payment which has already been shown to have caused a significant reduction of child poverty in Scotland, are the kinds of things I want to see more of, and I’m more than happy for my taxes to go towards.

It doesn’t matter which political party suggests or implements positive change, it should be the goal of every politician to see every single one of their constituents thrive on both an individual and community level. Policies which target poverty are the great societal levellers, and are the kinds of things that go towards reducing the class and income disparity which forces people into the often inescapable cycles of poverty which hangs over families like a generational curse.

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We’ve a lot to be proud of in this country, but we need to do more: find new and innovative solutions to the problems facing our communities, and ensure we always put the people of this country before profit. One of the areas in which Scotland must continue to improve and invest is homelessness, as more people than ever are having to use temporary accommodation, or are living on the streets.

The latest storms, Isha, and Jocelyn, brought with them winds of over 100mph and freezing temperatures. Official guidance recommended people stay inside and avoid any non-essential journeys or time spent outside – hard to do if you haven't any accommodation within which to take shelter.

Multiple unhoused people have already died this year on our streets, as happens every year to the shame of this supposedly great nation. One of those who died while experiencing homelessness was Richard O’Brien, a man who spoke out against the former Home Secretary’s comments that homelessness is a choice, stating, “there are people out here who haven’t got anywhere – and can’t get anywhere, so they have no choice, they have to be on this pavement.”

Richard died on the 27th of November, while sleeping in a shop doorway in Cardiff. Richard deserved a home, he deserved to have his human rights observed, he deserved what every single person in this country should, and could have, if only our society had its priorities straight.

We shouldn't have to illustrate conditions which present a literal danger to life before we take action against homelessness, we should be meeting the needs and addressing the human rights of every citizen in this country. Taxpayer money should not be going towards the mitigation of homelessness, it should be going directly towards its eradication, with sustainable and community-minded schemes which have been proven to work across the world.

The “staircase” method of housing relies on service users to be sober, and clean from drugs before they are able to access accommodation. This method has been proven to be ineffective as it can be incredibly hard, even impossible to recover from addiction with the additional pressure of homelessness.

Safe, secure housing is a human right, an inalienable right which is not contingent on any personal or social criteria. In comparison, a “housing first system” has proven incredibly effective in countries like Finland, which has seen a dramatic reduction in unhoused people since they started, well, housing them. No questions asked, no prerequisites, no moral hoops of sobriety or repentance required, just immediate, permanent housing given to all those who need it.

Scotland and Finland have comparable populations, with Scotland just shy of 5.5million, and Finland just over it. Through the provision of permanent and stable housing without any strings attached, Finland has seen a 75% decrease in unhoused citizens, showing just what can be achieved with a more compassionate approach to the fight against homelessness.

Scottish charities have been extremely clear in their assessment of the situation: temporary accommodation is not nearly as effective as stable, secure and permanent housing. It's far past the time for politicians to start listening to the people who day in, day out, are working to improve the length and quality of unhoused people across the country.

I'd much sooner the government spend every penny of my taxes on improving the lives of every citizen in this country than destroying the lives of people across the world.

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I'd sooner invest in the future of our country than remain stuck in the past, wasting money on corruption and incompetence. It’s often said that a rising tide lifts all boats, but this is only true if every single person has access to a boat.

Without the proper provisions, the proper support and compassion, those who we leave in the water may very well be swept away.