SNP savaged for creating ‘cult of personality’ around Salmond and Sturgeon

Scottish Greens will 'carry the can' for SNP says Cole-Hamilton

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Mr Sillars, a former deputy leader and MP for the pro-independence party, slammed its leadership and strategy to break up in the UK in his memoirs. The book, entitled A Difference of Opinion, paints a terrible picture of Ms Sturgeon’s independence movement.

The prominent Scottish nationalist lays bare why the party spectacularly failed to secure independence during the 2014 referendum.

He wrote: “There are important lessons for up-and-coming politicians to be learnt from studying the consequences of the Alex Salmond years of leadership and the development of the cult of personality under him, which has been transferred to Nicola Sturgeon.

“First, it tends to invest in the leader all knowledge, judgment and wisdom required for the development of policies, which is actually a block on ideas and the discussion and debate that is so essential in getting policies right.

“Second, it sows the seeds of future disaster because there are no brakes on the ego of the leader. Ultimately it ends in tears.”

Mr Sillars – who backed Mr Salmond’s Alba Party when he launched it earlier this year – said the SNP had paid a “heavy price for having been in the grip of two personality cults for 30 years”.

He also claimed that it pursued ludicrous economic policies which played into the hands of the then chancellor George Osbourne.

One of these was that an independent Scotland would still use the pound sterling – something that Mr Osbourne instantly ruled out.

Mr Sillars went on to blast the current Scottish First Minister for constantly whipping up anti-English sentiment and blaming Westminster for everything.

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He wrote: “That fires up the party but does it serve the nation’s interests?

“I think not. I am not sure that the First Minister’s policy serves the independence movement well either.

“If another referendum is held and a final victory won, there needs to be a total shift in how the Scotland-England relationship is seen and presented by both the SNP and Yes movements generally.

“I say England because, with its population of about 56 million people, it is dominant. That is not an anti-English swipe — simply a statement of reality. The Acts of Union 1707 were a triumph for English foreign policy.

“If the situation had been reversed and Scotland had been the dominant power with the larger population, we Scots would have acted as the English state has done.

“But because the union negotiation was between two states, with Scotland in the weaker position, it has left a belief among Scots that it was an agreement to create a union of equals and, when such a belief has proved untrue in practice, it has created an undercurrent of anti-English feeling.

“Within the union with England, we are not equal, never have been and never can be.

“A proper understanding of state interests should bring that reality into sharp relief and so perhaps help us get our relationship with England into a less negative perspective.”

A Difference of Opinion: My Political Journey by Jim Sillars is out on September 2.

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