‘Day of reckoning’ post-Yes vote, says Jim Sillars

Jim Sillars with Alex Salmond on the campaign trail. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

Jim Sillars with Alex Salmond on the campaign trail. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

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Scottish independence: FORMER SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars has claimed there will be a “day of reckoning” for major Scottish employers such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Life after a Yes vote.

Speaking from his campaign vehicle the “Margo Mobile”, Mr Sillars insisted that employers are “subverting Scotland’s democratic process” and vowed that oil giant BP would be nationalised in an independent Scotland.

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Earlier this week, a number of banks, including Lloyds Banking Group and RBS, said they would look to move their headquarters south of the border in the event of a Yes vote.

Mr Sillars, who earlier this week claimed he and First Minister Alex Salmond had put their long-held personal differences behind them to campaign together for independence, also revealed that he would not retire from politics on 19 September but said he would be “staying in” if Scotland became independent.

He claimed there is talk of a “boycott” of John Lewis, banks to be split up, and new law to force Ryder Cup sponsor Standard Life to explain to unions its reasons for moving outside Scotland.

He said: “This referendum is about power, and when we get a Yes majority, we will use that power for a day of reckoning with BP and the banks.

“The heads of these companies are rich men, in cahoots with a rich English Tory Prime Minister, to keep Scotland’s poor, poorer through lies and distortions. The power they have now to subvert our democracy will come to an end with a Yes.”

He added: “BP, in an independent Scotland, will need to learn the meaning of nationalisation, in part or in whole, as it has in other countries who have not been as soft as we have forced to be. We will be the masters of the oil fields, not BP or any other of the majors.”

Mr Sillars, whose wife, MSP Margo MacDonald died earlier this year, said that under an independent Scotland, Standard Life would be required by new employment laws to give two years warning of any redundancies - and reveal to the trade unions its financial reasons for relocation to any country outside of Scotland.

“What kind of people do these companies think we are? They will find out,” he added.

The Yes campaign described Mr Sillars, whose rift with Mr Salmond is believesd to have begun moreb than 20 years ago as a “passionate campaigner” but refused to endorse his manifesto.

A spokesman for Yes Scotland said: “Jim is a passionate campaigner who is carrying on the work of his late wife Margo MacDonald, who dedicated her political life to achieving an independent Scotland and a fairer society. The current Scottish Government’s proposals for an independent Scotland are set out in great detail in the white paper - including the job-creating powers Scotland so badly needs - and that is what people are voting for.

“In each and every election to an independent Parliament, parties and individuals can put forward a manifesto of their choosing and the people will decide. The role of Yes is to achieve a Yes vote, so that the people of Scotland will always get the governments we vote for - and never again Westminster-imposed Tory governments.”

Opposition campaigners claimed they “would not be intimidated” by Mr Sillars’s words.

“The Yes campaign’s mask slipped today as Jim Sillars revealed their message for the final week of this campaign – vote yes or else,” said Labour MP for Glasgow South West Ian Davidson.

“His words are a clear threat to anyone who points out the true costs of separation to the people of Scotland.

“Well I tell Jim Sillars - Scots are not the ’90 minute patriots’ he once accused us of being. Scots have backbone and we who are voting no with patriotism and pride for our country will not be intimidated by threats of vengeance.

He added: “Sillars stood shoulder to shoulder with Alex Salmond this week claiming to be positive. Now we see the real face of nationalism in all its ugliness.

“Scotland must unite to gain the change we need for our country and reject the yes campaign’s strategy of threats and intimidation.”

BP refused to comment.

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