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.