2007 - 2021

In Defence of Sillars


Jim Sillars has merely pointed out the fact that an independent Scotland could challenge the ability of multinational corporations to subvert democracy, and the independence movement should stand behind him for his honesty.

The No campaign’s uproar over Sillars’ comments is sheers hypocrisy. When David Cameron and the Treasury call in favours from banks and supermarkets to create fear and panic in Scotland about independence, the No campaign say it’s all part of the debate. When Sillars says that the same corporations who have made huge profits in Scotland and who ruthlessly squeeze their workers for every penny they can get should stop protecting their friends in the British establishment and undermining the hopes of ordinary Scots, the NO campaign cry foul play.

And of all the people to accuse Jim Sillars of bullying, how laughable that Ian Davidson MP is the one to lead the charge. The man that threatened to batter a female MP if the details of a parliamentary committee were leaked, who said yes campaigners shouldn’t just be defeated but ‘bayoneted’, he’s got some nerve to accuse others of “fear and intimidation”.

“Fear and intimidation”!? Corporations like BP bribe, cheat and steal to open up oil reserves all over the globe. They happily work with despots and tyrants who flout international human rights law if they can make a quick buck out of it. North sea oil is part of the natural resources of Scotland; nationalisation should always be a reasonable proposal to make when considering all of Scotland’s natural resources. Has Britain really become so craven to corporations that the possibility of nationalisation cannot be raised? Most countries in the world have their oil nationalised; the UK is the exception.

And as for RBS, lets look at what Sillars actually said:

“As for the bankers: your casino days, rescued by socialisation of your liabilities while you waltz off with the profits, will be over.”

Amen to that. It is amazing that in all the talk of RBS moving their registration from Edinburgh to London, there has been no discussion of the fact that this is a bank that was a central part of bringing the British economy to its knees because it was so horribly mismanaged under the leadership of Fred ‘the shred’ Goodwin. Yet efforts to reform the banking system from Westminster have been pitiful; there’s good reason to believe another financial crash is a distinct possibility. Scotland should be rejoicing that in the event of independence, as the legal liability for the financial liability RBS will now fall on London rather than Edinburgh.

Corporations domestic and global are lining up behind the British state because they know it is their state: the interests of British capitalism and the British state are as one. Why should the independence movement give the same commitment to the corporate elite, when rampant global capitalism has only created inequality and instability? It’s the unlimited power of global corporations in Britain since Thatcher which has made the UK probably the worst society to be a worker in in Western Europe. It doesn’t matter what measure you assess it on – rights, pay, hours, participation, stress – Britain is a very bad place to be a worker.

Someone has to speak out against the abuse of corporate power in our democracy. The media don’t bat an eye lid when endless commentators threaten workers over trade-union influence in politics, but it is seen as almost criminal to have a similar attitude towards corporations. British politics is overwhelmingly dominated by corporate interests, especially the City of London who even have a ‘Remembrencer’ in the House of Commons who is the official lobbyist for the City in parliament, has unrivalled access to MP’s and even sits next to the speaker of the house in the chamber to ensure the City’s interests ‘are protected’. All Sillars is saying is that in Scotland we might do thinks a bit differently from the UK, what is wrong with that?

Sillars has done everyone in the independence movement a service by outlining the real dividing lines of a post-yes Scotland. They are the same dividing lines as in the referendum debate: people power versus corporate power.

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  1. wwilmawatts says:

    I also think it gave Alex Salmond the opportunity to say things he would not otherwise have done. I think we should all write to RBS and personally thank them because now the Credit rating agencies, like Standard and Poor’ s will give Scotland their highest rating since the bank’s toxicity has been removed.

  2. JimnArlene says:

    To Jim Sillars, I say bravo. The man has hit the unionist- corporate, nail on it’s greedy head.

  3. Hugh Wallace says:

    Reblogged this on Are We Really Better Together? and commented:
    Corporations, domestic and global, are lining up behind the British state because they know it is their state: the interests of British capitalism and the British state are as one. It doesn’t matter what measure you assess it on – rights, pay, hours, participation, stress – Britain is a very bad place to be a worker.

  4. bringiton says:

    The continuing patronising arrogance of the British state and it’s supporters.
    The British state broadcaster portray us as “separatists” which is not a far cry from their description of people in Gaza as “militants”.
    The RBS can leave the 8.5% share we own of it on the way out.
    We don’t need the hassel thanks.
    Speaking with a patronising English Tory woman today,she accused us “separatists” of
    breaking up a 300 year old union for no good reason.
    Pointed out that it was her Tory leader who put us in this position when he refused a second
    question on the ballot.
    Not our fault ladies and gentlemen.

  5. Wullie says:

    Slept past my stop tonight, through the wilds of Easterhoose, headed west through terra incognita and asked the young teams hingin aboot, “how ye votin next week boys?” 100% YES
    Haud yer heid up!

    1. Ian Kirkwood says:

      Great stuff boys. We are going to win this!

  6. McDuff says:

    Excellent article,my sentiments exactly.

  7. stewartb says:

    Mr Dudley of BP seems to express a different view of engaging with national politics based on this profile (see: http://www.worldofceos.com/dossiers/bob-dudley ). He is quoted here as saying:

    “We make big, long-term bets that sometimes do not produce revenue for a decade. We have to think about developing a work force and a sustainable investment that can live — in some cases — through multiple changes of government. The only way you can do that is to step back and try not to get yourself too deeply involved in the politics of a country.”

  8. Fay Kennedy. says:

    The electorate has become so indoctrinated in lies that when truth is spoken they resist like it was a plague. I think Jim Sillars is a breath of fresh air and more of his ilk.

  9. Iain Lawson says:

    Jim was spot on and spoke up for all of us sickened by the greed, corruption and arrogance of those down South who think they have to right to dictate and bully our people. A realisation that this will be unacceptable in an Independent Scotlnd was long overdue.

  10. florian albert says:

    I have found myself commenting on Drumchapel on another thread on Bella Caledonia. Drumchapel’s fortunes took a nosedive when two of the biggest local employers shut; Singer and Goodyear. Both were American-owned multi-nationals. They have been gone for decades now. Drumchapel has never recovered.
    The same could be said about the loss of Caterpillar, Olivetti, NCR and a dozen more. It is easy to denounce such companies. It has not been easy to replace the employment opportunities they created in the past.

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