EACH week this column has been a platform to give members of the public the opportunity to tell their stories about independence and their vision of a Scotland for Everyone.

The person I was meant to interview over the weekend, a supermarket worker in Edinburgh, has contracted Covid-19. Like many others working in vital public-facing roles, she is suffering. In the midst of an unprecedented global crisis, the scale of which hasn’t been seen since the Second World War, a conversation about independence doesn’t seem right today.

Today is about surviving, today is about making the best of what we have, taking care of others, staying strong mentally and being a community. In times of trouble, in war, financial meltdown and disease there is suffering. There will be a time for reflection and then a time to rebuild.

Whilst navigating these uncharted waters, and when we find the space to do so, it is absolutely vital that we consider the country and world we want on the other side of the crisis.

Before my gran passed away, I asked her about what life was like during the Second World War. To my surprise, she spoke with a fondness for the time, reminiscing about a sense of community and unanimity in collective suffering and finding slivers of joy wherever it existed.

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Everyone had the same, everyone felt the same, there was community in hardship. Then and now, it appears that in times of crisis we gasp for a form of socialism, in relative stability we’re sold on the gilt promises of capitalism. The welfare state was the most successful and revolutionary piece of public policy and the last triumph of war. Change on this scale will be required in the wake of the Covid-19 emergency.

In the aftermath of the 2007 economic crash there was a chance to learn and make changes to the way the world works, not allowing a select few to gamble with our futures.

That chance was missed and we have lived through a decade of austerity where the 99% pick up the bill for the frivolity of the super-rich tax-evaders. You are the fat in the foie-gras, the complementary champers in first class and the rich have been dining out on your misfortune for too long, but the opportunity for change will come again.

Voices for Scotland is not party political, we don’t make policies or dictate how people should think. We listen and project. Without fail, every single person I have spoken to about Scotland’s future has called for more equality in our society.

If it hasn’t happened already, your immediate community is going to become an important part of your life. To ensure we don’t miss this new opportunity for change, community networks need to exist beyond a time of crisis. Community groups are the bedrock of change, so get involved and get organised. The immediate priority is helping the most vulnerable in society to ensure they have what they need. There have been fantastic examples across the country of people supporting each other in a time of need. This spirit and collective responsibility will get us through the immediate challenges we face, and if maintained, will bring lasting change for a better, more equal society.

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When considering what change we want, we need to simply think about what we need. In the short term there is a large number of people who will be struggling because of a lack of income. The gig economy, so championed by big business as a way to shirk the responsibilities of a reputable employer, has left many without an income as the nation heads towards a lockdown. These people have rent or mortgages to pay and have to provide for themselves and their families.

For our community and for equality, a freeze on all rent and mortgage payments, as well as introducing universal basic income, would alleviate the additional stress felt by those unsure how they’re going to make ends meet. An article in The National in February highlighted some of the benefits of universal basic income, including a boost to mental health and social mobility. If ever there was a time this was required, it is now.

As well as thinking about new things we need, we need to protect the good things we have. Like the NHS, for example. Imagine this crisis without the NHS. A recent report in Time magazine showed the average cost of treatment for Covid-19 for someone in the US who has insurance would be $9763 (£8506). Any complications and that bill will more than double to more than $20,000 (£17,426).

Another institution under threat is the BBC. Whilst many are quick to point at its flaws, it will be a vital source of information and a great source of comfort for many, particularly older people, who find themselves in isolation in the coming weeks and months.

There is a lot of good around, but we need and deserve better, particularly in this very unsettled time.

A step into the unknown is a step towards uncertainty, and with that comes a sense of trepidation and fear. That’s okay, this is how you should feel. The time we have is precious and should be used like a valued resource.

Enjoy yourself, show others love and compassion, stay in, stay safe and be part of your community. Now and the immediate future is about surviving together, but on the other side of this crisis is your opportunity for change – don’t let anyone take that away from you.