IN the campaign to win a Yes vote, the support of Scotland’s working-class majority will be indispensable, and it is vital that the independence movement unreservedly stands with the mushrooming movement of workers demanding pay and jobs justice.

Currently spearheading this movement are RMT members, striking against sackings from safety-critical jobs, pay cuts, station closures and decimation of services to the public. Although fronted by 15 train operating companies and Network Rail, this butchery is driven by Grant Shapps, the Tory Transport Minister, who owns a private plane.

As with his serial-liar boss Boris Johnson, Shapps’s constant denials of responsibility recall TS Eliot’s mystery cat Macavity “of such deceitfulness and suavity”, who “always has an alibi and one or two to spare; at whatever time the deed took place – Macavity wasn’t there!”

The truth however is that rail workers, council staff, posties, BT workers, teachers, NHS staff, police, retail staff and countless thousands of others have endured the longest and deepest pay cuts in 200 years and now face a Tory government pay limit of 2%, as Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation reaches 11.7%.

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It’s this fact – and not the mythical “manipulation” by imagined “union barons” – that has seen thousands of angry workers vote for action to force pay rises that protect their living standards from soaring energy and food costs.

That’s why – despite the tsunami of lies from the right-wing UK media – there is widespread support for the RMT and its leader Mick Lynch, who has left a growing list of opinionated but ignorant pundits and ministers trailing in his wake.

The Tories’ standard dog-whistle response, blaming, demonising, and seeking to divide and conquer workers, has blown up in Johnson’s face, culminating in stunning by-election defeats and renewed resignation calls. And the RMT’s courageous action has emboldened hundreds of thousands to join a union.

Here in Scotland, the subservient relationship with Westminster, and financial straitjacket under devolution, means that – like the Tories – the SNP/Green government is operating the same pay restraint. It is imposing a 2.2% pay cap, which risks widespread confrontation with hard-pressed public sectors workers.

The SNP/Green Government was elected for not being the Tories, for being anti-austerity. It has a people’s mandate to defy and defeat Tory cuts to pay, jobs and services.

Rather than meekly accepting and devolving Westminster austerity, the Scottish Government should highlight its manifesto pledges and launch a major campaign – alongside the trade union movement – demanding back the billions of pounds stolen by Westminster to implement their promises.

This is the nub of the question that faces Yes supporters, who rightly want to break the undemocratic shackles of Westminster. What is to be done until we win?

The growing mood of opposition to 30 years of neoliberalism – which has generated record-breaking profits, stuffed the wallets of the rich, and brought insecure work, zero hours contracts, de-industrialisation and austerity to the rest of us – must be embraced by the Yes movement.

This means siding with and building solidarity with workers fighting for jobs and pay justice, whether they face private profiteers, Westminster, or Holyrood. There is no middle ground in this showdown between profiteering employers and axe-swinging governments versus workers fighting to survive. We have to take sides.

It also goes to the heart of the case that we must advance to win that vital Yes vote in the context of a catastrophic crisis facing both people and our planet.

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The current bland offer, based on a “business as usual, nothing much will change” prospectus – which stays in Nato, keeps the monarchy, and embraces the failed market system – won’t mobilise a mass movement, 2014-style. We cannot expect to win the crucial working-class vote by an offer aimed mainly at protecting the profits of big business and placating the views of middle-class professionals, which portrays a future independent Scotland imitating the capitalist atrocities of today’s UK ... but a bit more gently!

This thin gruel is a poor offer in a world where a raging climate crisis and austerity are burning issues, and mass movements of workers and climate activists exist demanding change.

The case for independence must be the case for real change, with a massive re-industrialisation based on green jobs and democratic public ownership, particularly of energy, transport, housing, health and banking. For a Scotland founded on people, not profit.

The Yes movement should remember the famous quote from Edinburgh socialist James Connolly as Ireland faced a similar decision: “If you hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organisation of the Socialist Republic your efforts will be in vain. England will still rule you ... through her capitalists, landlords, financiers.”

In today’s Scotland, we must build a movement based on solidarity and change, which supports independence as the path to a country based not on profiteering but on putting the interests of people and planet first. Standing on the side of workers in struggle is the first step on that road.

Richie Venton is the national workplace organiser for the Scottish Socialist Party.