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“This referendum is about power … we will use that power for a day of reckoning with BP and the banks”

The Scotsman reports (emphasis added):

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.

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.”

The most recommended comment on the Scotsman website is from someone called “Common Sensei”:

Who would want to live in a post Yes Scotland run by these scarey people?
Academics who cross them get phone calls to their employer.
Companies scared to speak out against them.
Business leaders scared to sign a No letter for fear of retribution.
Media outlets who tell the truth get vitriol thrown at them.
No campaigners shouted down and mobbed.
No campaigners scared to put No signs in their window.

Yesterday Salmond attacks the BBC about telling the truth about companies moving south, and today Ex SNP Deputy Leader Sillars (who shared a stage with Salmond this week) threatens companies who have dared to tell the truth about what would happen in a separate Scotland.

“a day of reckoning”.

It’s genuinely scary stuff, the SNP and yes camp makes Scotland appear like a wannabe soviet state or banana republic.

No wonder Salmond admires Putin…

It is perfectly possible to be in favour of Scottish independence and have views very unlike those of Mr Sillars. But, as Common Sensei said, this is not some random cybernat talking; it is the former deputy leader of the SNP.

I think Common Sensei is also right to say that No campaigners have some reason to be scared to put up signs. A few days ago the Times columnist Melanie Reid, herself a Scot living in Stirlingshire whatever the commenters denouncing her plain speech may think, wrote,

“Every roadside No poster in fields between my home and Glasgow has been vandalised, an unpleasant message of violence and denial of democracy.”

Such behaviour is certainly a common and bitter complaint in the comment threads of Scottish newspapers. My friend Niall Kilmartin, who up until a couple of days ago was happy to let Twitter pass him by, signed up simply to express his anger at the way that so many No posters in his area had been vandalised. He posted some pictures he took of smashed signs (all of them on private property) under the hashtag #vandalnats .

53 comments to “This referendum is about power … we will use that power for a day of reckoning with BP and the banks”

  • D. Neilson

    Well it makes it sound like a “Yes” vote for the “No” voters is going to go a lot worse, than a “No” vote for the “Yes” voters. At least at first.

  • SC

    That’s the end of the Yes campaign then. Easy victory for the No’s now.

  • Mr Ed

    He is the real McChavez.

  • Stuck-Record

    As much as I want the Scots to vote ‘YES’ and experience the full glory and majesty of living in a socialist republic fuelled by the magic money tree, I’m beginning to think the polls are off by a large invisible faction.

    The scared.

    There are swathes of Western life where it impossible to hold position ‘X’ and keep your job/friends etc. Certain opinions are not acceptable to the modern liberal mindset without being branded a modern ‘witch’.

    Maybe in Scotland we’re seeing another. It’ll be interesting if the vote goes something like 65/35 rather than the 50/50 the polls suggest. Especially in those Nat strongholds like the cities.

  • Mr Ed

    ‘When independence comes, you’ll drink the finest Scotch, cheap as milk’.

    But I don’t like Scotch.

    ‘When independence comes, you’ll drive an Audi or better’

    But I don’t like German cars, I’m happy with my Fiesta.

    ‘When independence comes, you’ll eat the finest Angus beef steak’

    But I don’t like steaks, I’m happy with a bit of lamb now and then.

    ‘When independence comes, you’ll smoke the finest Havana cigars’

    But I don’t smoke.

    ‘When independence comes, you’ll eat fresh Scottish Smoked Salmon, cheap as coley’

    But I don’t like fish.

    ‘When independence comes, you’ll do what you’re bloody well ordered!’

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Sillars is clearly collectivist scum.

    But what is the difference between his opinions and those of Mr “Ed” Miliband?

    After all Mr Miliband also goes around telling his supporters how he will order private companies about.

    He just has a silly voice and a weak looking face – what Mr Miliband actually says (if one takes the trouble to listen it) is just as evil as what Mr Sillars says.

  • Bugger, if only he could have kept his mouth shut for a few more days.

  • JohnK

    Clearly you can forget that out of date stuff about Edinburgh being the Athens of the North, under the national socialist SNP it will be the Caracas of the North. I expect Wee Eck is being measured up for his beret and XXXL olive green fatigues even now.

  • Richard Thomas

    JohnK, more like the carcass of the North.

  • The man’s a clown. Firstly he couldn’t nationalise BP, as most of it sits outside of Scottish territory, so he could only nationalise their Scottish operations. Secondly, the assets are never owned by one company, they are always split between several to minimise risks (for example, Exxon has a share in every Shell North Sea development equivalent to Shell’s, or at least they used to). Consequently, the biggest producer by ownership, as opposed to operatorship, in the North Sea is…Total. So they’d need to appropriate their assets too. So on the first day of independence the fledgling Scottish government is going to get into an almighty shitfight with both ExxonMobil and the French government.

    Good luck with that.

  • jsallison

    “Clearly you can forget that out of date stuff about Edinburgh being the Athens of the North, under the national socialist SNP it will be the Caracas of the North. I expect Wee Eck is being measured up for his beret and XXXL olive green fatigues even now.

    I was thinking Pyongyang with haggis.

  • Laird

    Are you certain that this guy isn’t in the pay of the “No” camp? Rants like this are sure to drive many undecideds (and maybe even some yes-leaners) to vote No.

  • Andy

    Fascist McTavish.

  • Andy

    Athens of the North to Venuzuela of the North with one vote.

  • Stonyground

    Can anyone fill me in on a serious gap in my knowledge. When all kinds of British industries were being nationalised way back when, I was just a kid and so wasn’t aware of any of the details. Was it like a compulsory purchase order with the owners or share holders being paid market value for the industry in question, or did the government just steal it? If it was the former, I would be surprised if the Scottish magic money tree had enough fruit on it to buy an oil company. If it was the latter I think I will buy shares in popcorn.

  • Niall Kilmartin

    Laird, if the No camp has the SNP so well penetrated that a former deputy leader of the SNP is in fact working for them then the SNP have more problems than just him. 🙂 Seriously, if Sillars remarks were caught in an open mic situation, they’d be no surprise. There is also no real surprise here: when SNPers get angry, they tend to mouth off. The utterly-predictable comments by RBS may yet have came as a surprise to him and colleagues. Think of Instapundit’s running gag about bad news always arising ‘unexpectedly’ under Obama. The SNP teach themselves, not just fellow Scots, to feel entitled about as much as possible. Whenever Scots entitlement is insufficiently respected by people and organisations that have to live in the real world, they get angry.

  • bloke in spain

    On a technical point: the banks would be relocating south because EU law required banks to be domiciled in the jurisdiction they do the majority of their business. As both RBS’s Natwest arm & the Lloyds part of the LBG operating in the rUK far exceed the Scottish operations they have no choice.

    On Stonyground’s query; If memory serves the Treasury issued various loan stocks: British Gas 3% ( I think that was the coupon) British Electricity, British Coal etc. Either in compensation or to raise compensation. As they’ve long passed their redemption dates it’d take a dig through the SE Official List archives to say more.

  • Regional

    Fascism is the highest form of Socialism and I’ve yet to meet a Scot who wasn’t a Commy, look at the Scots in the entertainment ‘industry’

  • GlenDorran

    Niall Kilmartin:

    Sillars was speaking in public from his campaign vehicle in Wester Hailes (a sink estate in Edinburgh). This wasn’t a closed doors speech to the faithful or an off-guard comment. This was a manifesto speech trying to win people over.

    I’ve gone from being a strong No to being rabidly anti-Yes because of the likes of Sillars.

    I know Perry thinks that all the motivated, succesful Scots will move down south and the rest of us can sink in to the sea. Fine, he’s entitled to think that, but there are plenty of people up here who want to fight against this socialist utopia shite that is being shouted about, and I’m one of them. Don’t condemn me as a waste of space because I’ve not hopped on the first train to London.

  • GlenDorran

    Regional: We’ve not met. If you are ever in Edinburgh I’ll buy you a drink and introduce you to my non-commie friends. There are actually a lot of us around.

  • Mr Ecks

    It occurs that threatening numerous large companies with what Wee Eck (absolutely no relation) will do to them is not such a good idea. After separation, an independent Scotland will be a poor, semi-bankrupt socialist shithole with only 5 million population and no organised military of its own. It occurs that a big enough consortium of large companies could hire enough mercenary muscle to take said semi-bankrupt shithole with no money and no military muscle of its own. Sillars might get his day of reckoning after all.

  • Don’t condemn me as a waste of space because I’ve not hopped on the first train to London.

    I do not think that at all, and frankly I wish Scottish politics was salvageable. But in truth I want a YES vote because I think it is the only way for English politics to become salvageable, not out of any actually hostility to Scotland. Much of what I write on the subject is flippant but it is really just political triage on my part, nothing more.

  • Regional

    What you say is valid. When people see this type of mindset leads to failure, they’ll question the rhetoric of socialist firebrands and their promises.
    There’s not many of yous. Remember in adversity there’s opportunity.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Mr Sillars may be unaware of the lack of kindness history has shown those before him who chose to “nationalise” (read: steal) foreign owned industries after a brief power grab, I’m sure a quick glance at Wikipedia of his probable comrade heros such as “Allende” and “Mussadeq” may give some guidance of what may come later.

  • veryretired

    “Pyongyang with haggis”.

    I actually had a taste reaction to this phrase. Now I don’t know if I can eat my dinner.

    Marvelously evocative.

    Since they’re actually going to vote for it, the Scots will get exactly what they deserve, and I bet they get it good and hard, too.

    Cosmic justice is a bitch.

  • “Clearly you can forget that out of date stuff about Edinburgh being the Athens of the North”

    I’ve never thought the epithet was more appropriate, looking at the state of Greece these days.

    “I think Common Sensei is also right to say that No campaigners have some reason to be scared to put up signs.”

    Oh, there’s no doubt about it.

    And you’re right about the rest, too. If Sillars is saying this, it’s not a fringe viewpoint. He’s the man responsible for – or at least the man who takes credit for – the ludicrous “independence in Europe” strategy that saved the nationalists from utter oblivion in the late ’80s and led them to where they are now. Although he never rose above Deputy Leader, he was the face of the party at that time and in the early ’90s, very much in the way Salmond is today.

    And it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Anyone who finds this novel or shocking has, like the people who think there are “moderate” Islamists or those who thnk the EU is only a free-trade area, simply not been listening to what they’ve been saying. Every warning of the dangers of partition is taken as a threat, and the hatred for these messengers of fact runs deep. Yes, they’ll run into trouble over EU nationalization laws, but it won’t stop them trying. It won’t stop them taking out their anger in other ways, either.

    I’ve said all along that their plans remind me of Venezuela, and I’ve sometimes been accused of exaggeration. Well, there it is. They will be “the masters of the oil fields”, no doubt with some corrupt state corporation like Chavez’s PDVSA. Anyone on the “right” hoping that partition might lead to these people seeing sense needs to wake up, and fast.

  • Gareth

    Would a Yes undermine the SNP? I’ve begun to wonder, if the SNP secure independence for Scotland, whether the public would still support them in large quantities at the next election or if they will switch to supporting Labour. It would be quite funny in a way. Salmond claiming glory and then being booted out.

  • Tedd

    Is it possible there’s a “shy-Tory factor” in the poles, with No voters feeling inhibited from publicly expressing their opinion but also being ready to go to the poles?

  • Mr Ed


    The SNP will reform as the National Party, and Scotland will be like Barbados (politically anyway) in having two ‘Labour Parties‘. Barbados is the only country I’ve been to where a barber had his political affiliation advertised with agitprop in amongst the pin-ups etc.; many villages had prominent adverts for their MP on the main drag through.

  • Rob

    God help Scotland, whatever the result. Thugs like Sillars are going to kick off regardless.

  • Rob

    That’s an interesting and unique pitch for foreign inward investment: “Come to Scotland, where we steal your assets and make you ‘apologise’ to the unions, maybe on your knees with blood leaking out of your mouth.”

  • bob sykes

    The EU has delegitimized all national governments in Europe and is itself a source of Europe’s various independence movements.

    But, from a broader perspective, the processes described in Turchin and Nefedov’s “Secular Cycles” (Princeton, 2009) may be in play. Periods of revolution and civil unrest in Europe’s past were marked by expanding elites who captured larger shares of the national income and declining real incomes for the majority. This is the current situation in both the EU and US

  • Pardone

    The EU has little to do with the fragmenting of the UK, which has been going on, and steadily building for 40 years. Furthermore, the internet has made the nation state irrelevant, much like the fat ambassadors and their pointless embassies, unnecessary in this age of Skype and wifi, do nothing of any need anymore.

    Considering the South squandered the North Sea Oil windfall, there’s a very valid grievance. London’s anti-English, multi-culti artsy PC nonsense is totally alien, and frankly obnoxious to the rest of the country, and as such so are the careerist politicians and media who have never set foot outside “Wall Sina”. Culturally and economically, widespread devolution has gloriously become inevitable. Autonomous parliaments in Westminster, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool, etc. Politicians powers localized and thus their attractiveness to lobbyists greatly reduced. Their will be a great exodus of the ponces and lawyers who enter politics purely to get cushy “careers” as reward for selling out.

    In time, the nation state itself will at long last die out, replaced by actual democracy and much more effective regional operations instead of Westminster’s incompetence.

    Federalization cannot come soon enough, the breaking up of the UK parliament and government into regions, and thus atomizing of the political and media elite is desperately needed.

  • The EU has delegitimized all national governments in Europe and is itself a source of Europe’s various independence movements.

    Well your chum Putin is working hard to do the same in the ‘near abroad’ too.

  • Patrick Crozier

    Stonyground, in answer to your question IIRC in 1948 the government did pay market price for the railways. However, by allowing inputs such as steel and coal to rise massively over the course of the war while capping fares and rates the government had destroyed the railways’ finances.

  • Stonyground

    Thanks to Patrick and Bloke in Spain for your efforts to enlighten me.

  • bradley13

    replaced by actual democracy

    Not sure that’s such a good thing. Pure democracy is simply rule by the mob. Unless you happen to have an unusually intelligent mob I’d prefer a republic or other indirect form of democracy.

  • Snorri Godhi

    It is perfectly possible to be in favour of Scottish independence and have views very unlike those of Mr Sillars.

    I looked at the link and while they seem sensible about economic issues, they seem to have no qualms about catering to the antisemitic vote:

    Is this any more likely to get (net) votes than Sillars’ remarks?

  • Aetius

    Sillars, who is an ex-member of the SNP, is a lot better than the other Scot nats, who “think” and act like members of a malevolent cult. For example, his opinions on wind farms and the euro are perfectly sensible.

    His late wife Margo MacDonald, also an ex-member of the SNP, was both charismatic and able to think for herself. Two reasons that she and Sillars ended up outside the Scottish National Party.

  • James Hargrave

    Patrick Crozier.

    Also, for the railways, by putting them temporarily under government control from 1 Sept 1939 on less than generous financial terms, renegotiated (‘take it or leave it’) in 1941 to be even less generous (far below adjusted Standard Revenue as defined in the 1921 Railways Act after the previous period of govt control), their wartime profits went largely to the govt itself. The capping of fares and rates and increased wage rates was as bad under govt control (1914-21) in the First World War, and was only clear in the continuing govt control after the Second War (i.e. 1946 and 1947), then buggering the post-nationalisation finances too. Railway securities were compensated at a market rate, but the market had already been rigged.

  • TomJ

    One possible factor in the Yes poll surge: Pollsters have to withhold responses of those who have already voted. Older voters are more likely to vote by post. Older voters have consistently polled no. The Yes poll upsurge coincides with the start of postal voting.

    On Sillars: An authoritarian nationalist? Who’d have thought it? After all the SNP isn’t the sort of party that wants to stop poor people from having a drink, anyone from having a smoke, to decide what can be sung at football grounds or to appoint someone to look over the shoulder of every parent to make sure they’re doing it right…

  • Tom, is the poll not anonymous?

  • Andrew Duffin

    Nice bank you’ve got here; be a shame if anything happened to it, know what I mean?


    Are these really the sorts of people the Scots want running their country – for good?

    If so, they have my sympathies; or at least, those of them sensible enough NOT to want these people in charge have my sympathies. As for the rest, well they want “independence” (actually, they don’t, but that’s a discussion for another post), and it looks like they’re going to get it, good and hard.

  • TomJ


    My understanding from reading the article is that the pollsters ask whether you have cast your vote, and supress accordingly. I imagine this falls in the “how likely to vote are you?” question: definitely won’t, unlikely, likely, defintely will, aready have.

  • TomJ

    Further to my last, see also http://blogs.ft.com/off-message/2014/09/14/why-a-yes-vote-would-confound-pollsters/ for an insight into how pollsters use a lot of information around the central question asked to weight their results.

  • Thanks for that, Tom.

  • Wow thanks for that Rob – I was too lazy to look up myself…

  • Mr Ed

    Changing the facts, joining and populations etc. as necessary, this referendum is a bit like Iraq under Saddam Hussein demanding to have a referendum on leaving its union with Kuwait.

    Continuing the Leavtine likeness, the issue is essentially the Labour Party v the SNP, and it looks to me like a milder version of the Ba’athists fighting the Communists in Syria/Iraq etc in the 1960s and 1970s. The distinctions strike me as Judean Popular Front territory.

    But now the Better Together campaign are wheeling out Gordon Brown, as if Putin were parading Leonid Brezhnev’s animated corpse in the Crimea as an advert for a better future.

  • Alex

    But now the Better Together campaign are wheeling out Gordon Brown, as if Putin were parading Leonid Brezhnev’s animated corpse in the Crimea as an advert for a better future.

    Indeed (and very well-put). It is almost as though Better Together want to lose the referendum.

  • Patrick Crozier

    From what I can work out both sides want to lose.