Jim Sillars: 'I haven't voted for the SNP for a long time'
Former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars has said he hasn’t voted for the party for “a long time” as he called for a “rapprochement” with those who left to join Alba.
In an interview for Holyrood’s Politically Speaking podcast, Sillars said there was “no case to be argued at the current time” for independence because of a lack of detail about what it would mean.
Sillars recently took part in a fringe event at the Alba Party conference, but said he remained in the SNP.
He said: “I didn’t join Alba, and I won’t join Alba. Alba and the SNP means the movement is split, and a split movement will not win.
“I’m hoping a change of leadership in the SNP is going to happen and I’m staying in the SNP, hoping to influence people, saying ‘look, we’ve got to have a rapprochement with the people who left to join Alba.’”
Sillars said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had repeatedly “led people astray” by gearing up for a push towards a second referendum.
“I think the people instinctively know that there is no case to be argued at the current time,” he said. They know Brexit has made a change in the world and there’s no change of policy whatsoever (in the SNP). I think a new case has to be made.”
Cooperation agreement ‘suicidal’
Sillars was also critical of the cooperation agreement between the SNP and Scottish Greens, saying the smaller party had “immediately compromised” its position in order to keep ministerial positions.
He said: “The SNP has hooked itself to an organisation that is opposed to production, is opposed to all that a modern economy is going to require, and they will pay a price for that.
“We have huge poverty among children; we have real problems in education; we have just ruined the shipbuilding reputation by what’s happened at Ferguson’s yard; we've got a major housing problem…and the priority appears to be to allow me to self-identify as a woman and go into what I regard as essential safe spaces for my daughters and my granddaughters. That’s the priority?”
Asked why he continued to support the SNP, he said: “I didn’t vote for them the last time. I’ve explained why I’m in (the SNP). I’m hoping there will come a time when there’s a realisation that there has to be a rapprochement with the people who left and formed Alba. I’m in there to argue the case for the rapprochement, but that doesn’t mean I vote for the SNP. I have not voted for the SNP for a long time in elections – I wouldn’t vote for this.”
Listen to the full interview here