13 Sep 2014

Salmond: No ‘day of reckoning’ for businesses who back union

Scotland’s first minister distances himself from remarks made by nationalist Jim Sillars about “a day of reckoning with BP and the banks”.

Alex Salmond (Reuters)

Mr Sillars, a former SNP deputy leader, appeared to threaten banks and business who have come out in favour of preserving the union as the 18 September Scottish independence referendum looms.

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.”

But Mr Salmond said on Saturday: “The day after a Yes vote there will cease to be a No campaign and Yes campaign – only Team Scotland. We will approach the success of Yes with magnanimity to all.

“Jim Sillars is a great campaigner who has put aside his personal grief over the loss of his wife Margo MacDonald to put his heart and soul into galvanising the Yes vote.

“He is fighting a fine campaign all over Scotland – but the day after a Yes vote will be a day of celebration for the people, not reckoning for big companies drawn into the No campaign by Downing Street.”

Asked about Mr Sillars’ comments, he said: “Jim was simply trying to express the anger felt by so many people about the revelations that some supermarket statements were orchestrated by the Prime Minister himself.

“However, we must rise above these underhand Tory tactics, and be confident of the new spirit in Scotland.

“The people are showing no signs whatsoever of being cowed. They are in no mood to be bullied by big Westminster Government putting pressure on big business to intimidate the people of Scotland. Indeed, just the opposite is happening.”

Labour MP Jim Murphy said he has lost most of his voice “but not the argument” as he concluded a 100-day tour of Scotland urging voters to say no to independence.

Mr Murphy stood on top of an Irn Bru crate for the last time to address crowds in his home city of Glasgow.

He said: “The nearer it gets, a lot of the undecided voters have looked into the precipice and they’ve stepped back.

“They’ve said, ‘I don’t even know what currency we’d use and I don’t know who would pay the bills’.

“With the prospect of more devolution coming, a lot of undecided voters are breaking away from Yes towards a patriotic No Thanks.”

The former Labour cabinet member added: “The SNP’s wishful thinking doesn’t pay the bills, it doesn’t pay the wages or the mortgage or feed the kids.

“The fact is that all these business have spoken up in the way they have is because they are worried. It’s an enormous uncosted risk and it’s not like an election – we can’t go back.”