Sillars undermines the Scottish ‘Yes’ campaign again …


Jim Sillars with Alex Salmond on the campaign trail. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

Alex Salmond (L) campaigning with Jim Sillars

Yeah, but No, but Yeah – oh I so can’t believe he just said that!

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Jim Sillars has no doubt initiated a probable exodus of big businesses from Scotland if the ‘Yes’ campaign wins the referendum by asserting that the newly independent Scotland would punish large commercial entities such as Standard Life and Royal Bank of Scotland by increasing the notice period for redundancy to two years. ‘The Scotsman’ reports that the former SNP deputy leader has threatened a day of reckoning” for major Scottish employers such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Life after a Yes vote”. He continued “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”.

It seems that shooting themselves in the foot is becoming a habit, with the ‘Yes’ campaign presenting themselves in the media as plainly naive. Sillars vowed that “oil giant BP would be nationalised in an independent Scotland”. This threat alone will scare potential investors in Scotland, who won’t feel particularly comfortable with their assets being prised off them at below market value.

The simple fact is that the ‘Yes’ Campaign need to try and understand the harsh realities of world economics. It does not serve their interests to threaten and intimidate the very commercial organisations that may well bring them prosperity with their nation’s independence.

It doesn’t take much rational thought to work out that the vast majority of RBS customers are south of the border. The ‘vast majority’ by the way, means something like 95% of personal and mortgage accounts held with RBS were taken out in England and Wales. Why wouldn’t they move south?

The above threats by Sillars – and no doubt many other Scots nationalists, will come back to haunt them in future years. Sillars continually refers to oil but the fact is that it really won’t last forever. A well-established, diversified economy is essential in the modern world to avoid the fate of states that have a dominant, mainly one-dimensional economy and then hit trouble when the going gets tough. Sure 40 years is a long time to diversify, but it won’t help if international companies and investors are wary of your methods towards companies that are seeking to protect their own interests. I think Sillars needs to abandon his ‘trades union soap-box’ mentality and try to think like a successful politician.

Ask yourself this question: How many divorced couples retain a joint bank account? The answer to this is really, why do the SNP really feel that they can continue with the pound? Do they not understand that HM Treasury (UK) underwrites the Bank of England, who in turn safeguard many investments by guarantee. Why would the UK government – less an independent Scotland – continue to provide protection to customers with personal accounts with banks if those customers were in a foreign country? Why would the Bank of England continue to support private commercial banks based in Scotland?

Back to the divorced couples: Legal separation means just that, in every respect, when it comes to the breakdown of marriage. So it is when states cease to be in the same united framework.

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