Housing is suddenly back on the news agenda with George Osborne trying to reinflate the housing bubble with his dubious ‘Help to Buy’ scheme. Meanwhile the bedroom tax looms large on the horizon, primed to wreak financial havoc on those least prepared for it. So for all the coalition Government’s huffing and puffing, the imbalance between haves and have nots looks set to continue, as does the widening inequality between rich and poor.

The house that George built will be one where the well off hoover up second homes on cheap Government-backed credit while people are evicted from their homes because they have a ‘spare’ bedroom and nowhere else to live. It is utterly depressing and a change to how we view property is surely required, both for our selves and across the country, be it Scotland or (much less likely) the UK.

Conflating a roof over our heads with a commodity to be bought and sold for profit has gotten us into a terrible mess, and it’s time we all faced up to it.

It seems clear that a major problem across the country right now is that there aren’t enough homes for people to live in. Housebuilders are desperate to get on with building while families sit on waiting lists to get into council housing. The Bedroom Tax is therefore understandable, if unforgivable in its current form. For one thing, it is too narrow in focus. The housing shortage is across the UK as a whole. The Government shouldn’t ringfence and punish the poor simply for being poor, they should be looking to free up capacity by looking at where most spare homes exist. The unavoidable truth is that most spare homes are already held as second, third and fourth properties by individuals trying to make an easy gain in the rentals and long term bricks and mortar markets.

What would happen if second properties were banned overnight? Supply would explode, prices would plummet, everyone would be able to move up a rung or two on the ladder and, crucially, space would be vacated within the lower one-bed and two-bed markets. This would allow new homeowners to move out of the rented space, or even out of social housing altogether. This would surely free up capacity more efficiently and more equitably than the Bedroom Tax will. The main difference is that the pain would be spread across the country and not just those on housing allowance. Isn’t that what ‘we’re all in this together’ is all about though?

After all, who loses? Not many people other than amateur real estate magnates and overseas property speculators. Do such people deserve sympathy in these straitened times? Not for me, a one house per individual/couple rule makes perfect sense to me if we are to assuage the greed and selfishness that is causing so many unnecessary problems. Put simply, why should anyone own two or three houses when there are so many people who can’t afford to live in one, owned or otherwise? It’s just wrong on the most basic level.

There is, admittedly, an issue regarding individuals who are investing their savings in property in order to safeguard their pensions, but if this is detrimental to society then those savings will just have to go elsewhere. Needless to say, more properties on the market, lower house prices and more homeowners should in theory pull the housing allowance bill down and allow the pension entitlement to go up.

I don’t for one second believe that the UK Government will adopt this idea, but there is an opportunity here for Yes Scotland if they want to sell a vision of a truly different way of life. After all, if Scots don’t want to make these kinds of radical shifts in the way we run things then what is independence for?

And hey, it passes the social democratic litmus test for lefty Scots…. Sweden already does it.