They say patience is a virtue but it isn't helping Scotland's Labour movement achieve its goals for working people.
Since 1897, Scotland's Trade Union Congress has passed resolutions to advance workers' interests. But, for a generation, politicians at Westminster have let us down. A life in trade union and Labour politics leads me to wonder what we're holding out for.
Some delegates at this week's STUC congress in Dundee give our waiting game another name. Solidarity, they suggest, means we should only advance together across Britain; the reality is that what we are facing together is deeper and greater austerity.
Loading article content
Most trade unionists who backYes, and most fellow members of the Labour Party, care deeply about working people's prospects wherever they live. Solidarity means supporting each other to make gains and take opportunities where they arise. It means uniting in workplaces, taking collective power over work, and securing the rights, wages and conditions gained by others. It also means taking political opportunities, such as the referendum.
Supporting Yes is a strategic decision. Is a Scottish Parliament with full powers more likely to enable us to deliver a more just society? As a former chairman of Scottish Labour I believe social justice is the end and a Yes vote is the means. I also know that many trade union comrades are shifting from undecided to Yes. Few have moved from undecided to No. This groundswell will be felt at the STUC this week, along with the belief that a revitalised Labour movement will flourish in an independent Scotland.
If we can bring to Scotland powers to improve the lot of workers, raise the standard of work and life and prompt political or constitutional change across Britain (perhaps towards a federation of English regions instead of a centralised Westminster state), a Yes vote would be an act of solidarity with workers in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Why can we be confident a Yes vote will take us forward? If, like me, you are not sold on the SNP's programme, look at the agenda for STUC Congress.
This week's debates and demands are serious because our trade union movement remains the biggest representative movement in Scotland, standing not just for 600,000 members of affiliated unions but also for all workers. On a range of issues, the motions would improve the lives of working people, with fair employment and welfare laws, collective bargaining to set higher wages and tax and economic politics for the many, not the few.
This past year the STUC and wider Labour movement have thrust these issues into the heart of the independence debate. Behind the scenes, trade union leaders have won concessions and promises from the SNP Government such as the policy to increase the minimum wage, the pledge to abolish fees for employment tribunals and a commission on work and trade union rights. Meanwhile, many of us in Labour, on both Yes and No sides, are planning a revived, socialist Scottish Labour party that speaks to the voters we used to stand for: ordinary working class people.
Franklin D Roosevelt said: "There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still". A No vote is the way to stand still.
Just how far our movement can march cannot be said but a Yes vote is a major condition for progress towards our shared vision. History shows that the aims of the STUC, working people and a socialist Labour Party cannot be achieved as part of the UK. For Scotland to march again, it's time to take power into our hands.
The old motto of the STUC is labor omnia vincit - work conquers all. The Labour Party and movement comes from the principle that, with good work, fair wages and economic security, working people can collectively overcome many social problems and achieve a more just society. In September we can bring to Scotland the powers to work towards these historic aims. That's why, in the end, my Yes vote will be an act of solidarity.