WHERE there’s a will there’s a way – or so the old saying goes.

It particularly applies to politics right now. There is hardly a family in the land who are not dreading their electricity and fuel bills – perhaps the Duke of Buccleuch might be alright, but not many more.

At at all levels of Government, councillors, MSPs and MPs are desperate to play pass the parcel politics. Councillors say that they have been left cash strapped by Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon says she has been diddled by Westminster while Rishi Sunak says the cupboard is bare as a result of an act of God/pandemic/Russia or whatever.

In truth, all three levels of government need to step up to the plate – and recognise that where there’s a will there’s a way.

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So what’s to be done? Last week, Alex Salmond was interviewed on BBC’s The Nine. Martin Geissler was incautious enough to challenge him on the affordability of the Alba programme to combat family and child poverty. A blizzard of statistics later, the bold Martin quickly shimmied onto another topic.

However, in particular, Alex pointed out that it was a bit foolish questioning Alba on the affordability of a £500 grant in favour of households in receipt of council tax reduction, when this has already been implemented in Inverclyde in a move backed by Alba Councillors.

In the next few days in Inverclyde, £500 is going out to the most hard-pressed households – £150 from the Scottish Government augmented by £350 from their local council. Other authorities say that they are too skint to do likewise.

That is difficult to believe since, according to Accounts Commission data, collectively they actually have £3 billion in reserves, £500 million of which is totally unallocated. Local authorities say this is money saved for a rainy day. Well guess what? For most families it is now raining.

The point is, if it can be done for 10,000 hard-pressed households in Inverclyde, then it can be done for half a million across Scotland. What is required is political will.

Then there is the Scottish Government. In reality there is a substantial amount more that the Scottish Government could do in this moment of family emergency. Let’s take but one example. The winter fuel payment is a UK-wide benefit for pensioners, but a few years back the Scottish Government extended the grant to make the payments of between £100 to £300 per household to families with severely disabled children. Doubling it this year would cost some £200m, which sounds a lot until you calculate that it is less than half of 1% of the Scottish Government’s annual budget or substantially less than the government underspend in any of the last three years.

If you want to seriously address the family budget emergency then of course you can, but it does require political will. And then we come to the hapless Chancellor, a man who will never have to hesitate before boiling the kettle or turning on a bar on the fire. Indeed it is inherently unlikely that he does any of these things for himself, having taken the precaution to marry into very serious money.

The Chancellor is drowning politically but he will never go cold. At no point in his charmed existence will he ever have to worry about household finance, beyond the concern that the general public might find out just how rich he is, and just how little tax his family pays.

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The Chancellor is all at sea economically. Unless he breaks the inflationary spiral, it will totally consume him and the country. His correct way forward is clear. He needs to attack the cost of living directly and dramatically. And there is a potential “Brucie Bonus” for the Chancellor.

The Treasury has £500bn in index linked debt. The index linking means that every 1% on the Retail Price Index costs another £5bn in payments. However, 1% off saves £5bn. And so if he reduced all household energy bills by a third this year then it would save him rather more than £5bn. Add to that the overwhelming case for a windfall tax on big oil (something which even Margaret Thatcher initiated in 1980) and hey presto – you reduce inflation, give substantial help to every family in the land and fully fund it.

However, you do require political will. And so at all levels of Government something substantial can be done to save Scottish families from le déluge and then drowning in ever-rising costs. But there is one more aspect of political will which matters most to independence campaigners. And that is the determination to demonstrate the umbilical link between control of our nations resources and the cost of energy and then do something about it.

Not since the days of the poll tax has there been an issue which so dramatically links an economic imperative to the constitution and thus there has never been a clearer illustration of the requirement to secure our country’s freedom than our present circumstance of fuel poverty amid energy plenty.

If we fail to make that point, and what’s more, to seize this moment, then we fail the nation itself.