I CANNOT be alone in finding the news very hard to watch at the moment.

The human tragedies in Israel and Gaza are indications of human being’s capacity to impose harm on others that no faith, state or prior action can justify. Scotland does, thankfully, have politicians in office who are showing leadership on this issue, and I am grateful for that.

The obvious violence of warfare and weaponry is not, however, the only way in which harm can be inflicted by one group on another. In the last week the widely respected Joseph Rowntree Foundation has suggested that over one million people still live in poverty in Scotland, with nearly half of those (490,000) living in very deep poverty. In a broader report on poverty in the UK, they describe that second category as destitution. What is more, as they make clear, this humanitarian crisis has not arisen by chance. It is the consequence of three things.

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One is the failure of the Scottish Government to provide sufficient support to these people, although it is only fair to point out that the capacity for anyone at Holyrood to act is constrained by the funding supplied by Westminster.

The second is that low pay guarantees this outcome, with maybe 10% of Scottish workers being locked into low pay, and more than seven out of 10 of them being women, suggesting that this issue is systemic and gender discriminatory.

Third, this situation arises because five industries are dependent upon these low rates of pay. They are the retail, hospitality, manufacturing, health and social work, and administration and support sectors.

None of this is chance. This poverty and destitution is happening as a result of the choices made by people who win from making such decisions. Whole business models - including those of massively successful companies who pay their directors millions, and which are valued in billions - depend on the continued existence of poverty and destitution in this country.

The National: Holyrood chamber

Those companies are also dependent upon the state - to whom so many businesses are reluctant to pay the taxes that they should owe - to provide support to their workers who they pay insufficiently to have a hope of making ends meet, let alone to have a chance of a decent lifestyle.

We pussyfoot around this issue. Hands are wrung. People say they’d like to do something, but then ask how we might pay for it? After that they reluctantly suggest taxes are already too high and so there is nothing that we can do.

And all the time this economic oppression continues to cause untold harm to people. People having to go hungry is one obvious indication of this distress. So too is poor housing, and children sharing beds or sleeping on floors. Then there is the physical and mental ill-health that results. Perhaps most shocking are the life expectancy statistics. In Scotland the least deprived men have a life expectancy of 82.3 years. The most deprived can expect just 68.6 years of life, which is 13.7 years difference. For women the gap is 10.5 years.

Let’s not pretend that this structural economic attack on some in Scottish society does not have victims: We can literally measure it in terms of years of life lost.

Open conflict is easy to spot, shocking, horrific and rightly gives rise to calls for ceasefires from many of Scotland’s political leaders. But right now, right across Scotland people are being abused to enrich others in ways that cause real harm.

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Westminster shows no appetite to address this issue. Scotland has been innovative - especially in its support for children. But, the systemic change required to ensure that no one need suffer poverty or destitution in Scotland is not possible whilst business-inspired politics works to keep in place the causes of these curses. Those are the politics that Labour and the Tories are actively pursuing.

Change is possible. I have been documenting how taxes could be reformed to achieve this goal in what I call The Taxing Wealth Report. I have one motive for doing so. It is to show that in a rich country - and Scotland qualifies as a rich country - it is not possible to claim that the money needed to address such fundamental issues of inequality cannot be found. It can be. It is by choice that action is not taken.

Many in Scotland are rightly calling for a ceasefire in both Gaza and Israel, as well as a release of hostages, right now. I support those calls. But I also want an end to the economic violence that creates deep-seated systemic poverty and destitution. Can we achieve unity on that as well, even if it takes a little more effort to spot?