The demonising of people who rely on benefits is the biggest threat to human dignity, according to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.
He strongly criticised the UK Government's approach to welfare reform during a tribute to late union leader Jimmy Reid, who died in 2010.
Born in Govan, Mr Reid rose to international prominence when he led the "work-in" of thousands of shipbuilders on the Clyde during 1971 and 1972, thwarting government attempts to close the yards.
A memorable speech he made to students as rector of Glasgow University on "rejecting the rat race", in 1972, appeared in full in the New York Times newspaper.
Mr Salmond made the comments on the day he was due to deliver the inaugural Jimmy Reid Memorial Lecture in Glasgow.
"Forty years on, I'd argue that the biggest threat to human dignity is in a new kind of alienation felt by those who need the help of benefits to survive and find themselves, arguably, being demonised by some sections of society," Mr Salmond wrote in the Daily Record newspaper.
"Jimmy would be appalled by some of the brutal effects being felt in Scotland thanks to the UK Government's process of welfare reform."
People are being reduced to penury and the vulnerable are being left with a sense of despair, he wrote. "I do not argue for one second that any of this is the intention of welfare reform, but these are its consequences here in Scotland."
Independence for Scotland would provide an opportunity for key decisions to be made by people "who live and work here", Mr Salmond wrote.
He described the union leader as a "great man", adding: "As much as I miss Jimmy personally, what I miss more is the power of his voice speaking out against attacks on the most vulnerable members of our society. And that voice is needed now more than ever."