The referendum in 1997 was a turning point in Scottish history. The new Labour Government created the legislation and led the Yes Yes Campaign, but the vote was the culmination of more than a decade of debate, consensus-building and winning over public opinion in Scotland towards the settled will: Home Rule.

The referendum day and the resounding positive result were a huge boost for Scotland but they came after years of preparation, dialogue and of course controversy. Many, many people, inside political parties and outside, deserve credit for all that they contributed to that; not least through the Scottish Constitutional Convention.

In the aftermath of the referendum, expectations were high and they sky rocketed on the day our Parliament was established in 1999. But it would be honest to say the new Parliament had a sticky start.

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However, it did not take long to get into its stride and over a short number of years we legislated to transform Scotland’s land ownership and to modernise our criminal justice system with independent judicial appointments, more rights for victims and tougher sentences for serious offenders.

We led the UK on the smoking ban, which would never have been accepted if it had been sent from Westminster as a diktat. It was embraced by Scotland because it was decided in Scotland.

The position of First Minister created a leadership role that could tackle long ignored difficult issues: action on sectarianism; an apology for the nation on child abuse; attracting migrants to Scotland for Fresh Talent; promoting business overseas in China and elsewhere.

After decades of no action, we created a National Theatre for Scotland, now a huge international success, and we made the successful bid for Glasgow 2014.

All of this showed that through leadership and legislation, a devolved Scottish Parliament and Government could make a real difference. Today, however, there seems to be a general feeling in Scotland that the Scottish Parliament and Government need to rediscover that dynamism of the earlier years.

Perhaps, after 10 years dominated by referenda and constitutional debates, it is time to rekindle the spirit of 1997; to be bold and brave in legislation and leadership, not to promote party causes like independence but instead to deal with long-standing Scottish problems and to make Scotland a more just and prosperous place in the future.

“The powers of Home Rule give us real opportunities to do just that and I hope they will be used more in the future to deliver."

Lord McConnell Glenscorrodale, formerly Jack McConnell, was Labour First Minister of Scotland from November 2001 to May 2007.