The former deputy leader of the SNP has launched a scathing attack on the party machinery, highlighting the level of ‘control’ it exerts over members.
In a withering assessment, Jim Sillars uses his first column post-recess for Holyrood, following a period of ill-health, to attack the party’s “totalitarian” style and the seeming unwillingness of rankand- file MSPs to challenge its own leadership.
Sillars, who was briefly deputy leader of the party in the early 90s, launched his well-timed broadside ahead of the party’s annual conference next month.
Focusing on the prospect of NATO membership in a postindependence Scotland, Sillars writes of his concerns that SNP MSPs are being told to “keep their traps shut” on an issue which has naturally divided opinion.
Writing exclusively in his column for Holyrood magazine, he says: “Today, the SNP is the most leadership-controlled party in the UK. If I did not know better, I would easily believe the leaders had been schooled in the old communist party, where the top, the elite, made the decisions and the rest fell into step automatically, with not a word of dissent. Totalitarian would be a fair description of Scotland’s majority party.”
Sillars, who has previously been a vociferous critic of Alex Salmond, also made a thinly-veiled attack on the cult of the First Minister.