Upper Clyde Shipbuilders : Scottish Parliament debate 15th. September 2011

In the elections in May this year we saw many changes and most of them were unpalatable to people on this side of the chamber, but there was at least one little change that gave me cheer on being re-elected: it was the extending of my new constituency into Govan to include for the first time the Govan shipyards—that is a matter of great pride to me.
I shall be brief, as I realise that there are still many people who want to contribute to the debate, but I emphasise that this is not just about celebrating a little bit of history and is not just some romantic nostalgia; we are marking the foresight, determination and solidarity of the workforce in the UCS work-in.
We are recognising the way in which their inspirational and moral case was prosecuted, drawing support within my city of Glasgow, throughout Scotland and across the United Kingdom and beyond; support that was shaped by an understanding of the injustice and economic vandalism that was being pursued against skilled working people.
That campaign is a strong memory from my teenage years and, like the Lee Jeans campaign in the early 1980s, it provided a spark of light in dark times.
Those campaigns threw up leaders, heroes and heroines, men and women who stepped up to the mark and drove to success, and we celebrate them.
However, we also know that it was about not just those who became household names but the strength of workmates, their fellow trade unionists and their families and communities, who created the power to shift apparently unmoveable obstacles and stopped the Tories in their tracks.
There is an essential truth here: although individuals can make the case, can represent, can agitate and can give eloquent voice to the demands of the many, it is movements—the labour and trade union movement, the women's movement and the co-operative movement, among others—that deliver change over time.
We salute all of those who came together in a common endeavour, demanding the same things that the STUC, the unions and our communities are still demanding today: a strong economy, yes, but also a shared prosperity created by Government action and support.
In marking this anniversary, we reflect on the history and are proud of it.
However, critically, we celebrate the legacy—the skilled jobs still in Govan now, and high-quality jobs in engineering and shipbuilding in the Govan of the future, supporting and sustaining that community and beyond. We remember the soaring speeches, but it is the legacy for which we owe the UCS workers our heartfelt thanks.
Again now we hear the Tories with their certainty—that if it isn't hurting, it isn't working.
In these tough times, we should reflect on the fact that those with power will be judged not on the speeches that they make on the economy, but on the choices that they make, on the actions that they take, and on whether what they do makes a difference to the lives of our young people and future generations.
We salute the workers of the UCS for what they did, for the pride with which they did it, and—centrally—for the legacy that they left behind.