‘Yes will spark celebration, not day of reckoning’
The First Minister tried to distance himself from Sillars’ suggestion that Scottish employers should be held to account for “subverting Scotland’s democratic process” after several big businesses expressed concern about the risks of independence.
Sillars, a former deputy leader of the SNP, caused controversy when he made his remarks while campaigning for a Yes vote on his “Margo Mobile”, the vehicle named in memory of his recently deceased wife and independence supporter Margo MacDonald.
His comments were made after Scotland’s major banks revealed they had contingency plans to move their headquarters south of the Border after independence and the oil giants BP and Shell expressed a preference for Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom.
Sillars said a Yes majority would be used to secure a “day of reckoning” for BP and the banks, claiming that these companies were “rich men in cahoots with a rich English Tory prime minister”. The Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael called for Salmond to “disown” Sillars’s threats.
Yesterday Salmond issued a statement saying: “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.”
The First Minister repeated his claims that the decision by retailers to raise concerns about price rises after independence was co-ordinated from Downing Street.
“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.”
Last night Better Together said, rather than taking votes for granted, Salmond should give answers on the pound, pensions and public services.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander said: “Instead of planning parties, Alex Salmond should start answering questions. Questions about jobs. About pensions. About the pound. About funding our schools and hospitals.
“The nationalists are promising supporters a day of celebration and their opponents a day of reckoning. Nothing better describes the division they have brought to our nation.”