Jim Sillars: PM’s gambit is not so sporting

We celebrate success of Andy Murray, but not to the exclusion of all else. Picture: TSPL
We celebrate success of Andy Murray, but not to the exclusion of all else. Picture: TSPL
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I’ve heard many a daft argument against independence, but the one saying that we should stay with the Union because it enables some Scots, like Andy Murray and Sir Chris Hoy, to be members of a Team GB, is the most fatuous yet.

That statement was made openly by one of this paper’s readers, and was implied both in the choice of Olympic venue, and the content, of David Cameron’s speech last week. We got plenty of that stuff during and after the London Olympics, and will get another dose at the Sochi events.

Lord (Jack) McConnell, who is a Labour unionist, but whom I regard as a friend, warned nationalists from using the coming Commonwealth Games, where it will be Team Scotland, as propaganda for independence. I agree with him, but where is Jack’s criticism of Cameron for using the London and Sochi Olympics as propaganda for the Union side?

Why do I agree with Jack? Because while I get the same vicarious pleasure out of watching a winning athlete breaking the tape, or Murray smashing his way to victory, and know it is a real lifetime thing for that athlete, for me and those who are watching it is a passing event. It does not alter our lives one little bit. Those who are anxious about their jobs, a few minutes or hours after celebrating with the athlete, are back to worrying. The unemployed don’t have a job because Murray won Wimbledon, and the disabled person interviewed for “work suitability” is still humiliated. The elite athletes’ victories will go on their trophy shelves, while for the rest of us the excitement fades.

Just think about it. That a few Scots are enabled to wrap themselves in a Union flag every now and again in international sports events is reckoned to be one of the important issues that matter to millions, along with jobs, wages, education, and the needs of 250,000 children living in poverty and born to fail. Never have so many been told to give up everything in order to meet the passing needs of a very few.

As for Mr Cameron, I was not aware that he and his ilk, the Eton Bullingdon set, had such a passionate love for the Scots. We are being asked to believe we have got it all wrong. My goodness, all those jibes, the sneering at the subsidised Scottish junkies living off the hard work of our English cousins, the constant references to us as the Celtic fringe, of little account. It appears they were never meant, just playful stuff, the kind of rough and tumble that happens in a big family. We really should not have taken it to heart that those insults and jokes at our expense were all one way.

If it were not for Mr Cameron’s passion for our welfare, I could continue to believe that nuclear weapon submarines on the Clyde put us in peril, when obviously they are there to make us the number one protected part of the UK. How could we believe that people who so admire us would lie about the oil wealth? Obviously they must have told us, but we in our immaturity must have misunderstood.

It’s all guff. Mr Cameron must think Scottish heads button up the back, to keep in the mince he believes we have for brains. If he is so concerned about independence taking us down the road to hell, how about that debate with Alex Salmond he has been dodging?

Hoisted by their own petard . .

One of the saddest things in this referendum campaign is to see Labour MPs salivating in glee when a big business executive comes out against independence, by threatening the jobs of trade unionists and other Scots. These are the very same big businesses which will pour money into the Tory party’s election fund next year, while Labour will rely on the trade unions. Funny old world.

While you look the other way

Few noticed, but last week the German Constitutional Court threw a legal bombshell into the eurozone. It ruled that the European Central Bank’s plan to rescue the euro, by transferring wealth from Germany to the Club Med debtors, violates European Union treaty law and exceeds the bank’s mandate.

Would you trust this man Cable?

Twenty-one banks valued Royal Mail at between

£4 billion and £4.8bn. Vince Cable, business secretary, sold it for £3.3bn. Shares up from 330p to 588p. Result? Public robbed. Hard to match that level of incompetence by a man who lectures us to stay with him in the UK.


Not a word has passed between me and my Hibs daft wife about last Saturday. “Don’t want to discuss it,” was the sharp rejoinder when I ventured to suggest her team and the Scottish Cup are an ill-matched pair.