Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Sniping Sillars

Jim Sillars - visionary or liability?
I see Jim Sillars is at it again - Alex Salmond has become a liability to the Yes campaign – and could cost them the referendum, says Jim Sillars. The fact that he is winning enthusiastic support and encouragement from the anti-independence campaign should give him pause for thought. But I doubt that it will. Sniping at the SNP and its leadership has now become such an ingrained habit that I doubt if Sillars could desist even if he wanted to.

He may be right to say that "the unionist media's anti-Salmond battery of criticism and often sarcasm and ridicule has been working". Although it is curious that the supposed effectiveness of the anti-Salmond smear campaign is not more forcefully reflected in The First Minister's approval ratings. But, to whatever extent the attacks on the FM are effective, it is likely that this effect is aided by the likes of Jim Sillars echoing the criticisms rather than challenging them.

The ridiculous brouhaha over Salmond's diplomatic remarks about Vladimir Putin is a case in point. Sillars is intelligent enough to know that there is not the slightest grounds for the storm of faux outrage that has been whipped up by the British media. But instead of condemning those who maliciously misrepresent what the First Minister said he adds his own voice to those who are trying to make the Yes campaign all about Alex Salmond for the simple reason that it is easier to smear a politician than it is to attack the aspirations of a nation.

There is something rather ridiculous too in Sillars's constant carping about Salmond's methods when those methods have been more successful than he and the rest of the absolutist clique within the SNP could ever have imagined. One can't help but get the impression that it is this very success that Sillars and his ilk resent. An impression that does no favours for a man who is otherwise very highly respected.

Sillars needs to face facts. Transforming the old "Scottish Executive" into a real Scottish Government and elevating the office of First Minister from the standing of a glorified councillor to that of a genuine national political leader were both crucial to preparing the nation for the restoration of its rightful constitutional status. If we purport to be a nation then we must be seen to conduct ourselves as a nation.

Sillar's should also recognise that the office of First Minister does not belong to Alex Salmond, far less the Yes campaign. It is not his to use as he will for any purpose. The office of First Minister belongs to the nation. It belongs to the people of Scotland and is only held in trust by the incumbent. It would be an abuse of that trust for Alex Salmond to risk demeaning his office for the sake of advancing a political cause - even one as worthy as the cause of independence.

But this latest outburst from Jim Sillars is neither "explosive" nor "devastating". Persistent petty and unjustified attacks from this quarter have become as much a tedious feature of the Yes campaign as the unremitting negativity of the No campaign. While people listen intently to Jim Sillars when he is talking about his vision for Scotland's future, they merely tolerate his constant sniping at those who have brought us to the verge of having the power to realise that vision.

Many tolerate these outbursts with increasingly strained patience. It would be nothing short of a tragedy if Jim Sillars came to be remembered, not for his great service to the independence movement, but for the damage he risked inflicting on that movement by his departures into a rather silly personal agenda.
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  1. I have always been concerned about Jim Sillars being rather like a loose cannon judging by some of the articles he writes for the press and comments he has made on TV.

    However Jim Sillars was one of the participants at the recent YES sponsored event for undecideds at Wester Hailes Education Centre and must have been on good behaviour that night when he said "Salmond is mortal but Scotland is immortal" in reply to someone who said they were having difficulty voting YES because they didn't like Alex Salmond.

    This is first time I have ever heard Jim Sillars speaking at a YES sponsored event for undecideds, and I have to say don't think his input persuaded very many present to vote YES.

  2. He still ragin cos wee Eck beat him for SNP leadership

    Can't say he' being positive about the yes if he goes on like this. No wonder undecided aren't impressed.
    People need to see change and old politico's don't impress this Generation . I remember one guy saying "my dad voted for you all his life , you might have fooled him but your not foolin me "

    Well said Peter.