POLITICS

Jim Sillars Goes On Epic Scottish Independence Twitter Rant

21/09/2014 16:25 BST | Updated 21/09/2014 16:59 BST

An SNP heavyweight has gone on an extraordinary rant about Scottish independence, insisting the country doesn't need another referendum to become an independent republic, free of the Queen who has "intervened" to deny Scotland its destiny.

Jim Sillars, the senior party figure who previously warned of a "day of reckoning" after a Yes vote for the businesses that warned of the dangers of Scottish independence, went on the rant on Twitter.

Tweeting as @Naefear, Sillars said today: "Let Yes assert new indy rule – no more ref – majority votes and seats at Holyrood 2016 enough #the45.

"What’s this about a waiting a generation – indy remains on agenda now.

"Queenie intervened for No as she did in 1979. So no more softly-softly – we go for Republic."

The hashtag #the45 refers to the 45% who voted for independence.

A group of pro-independence campaigners has come to refer to itself as The 45 and have been casting about conspiracy theories about why the election's outcome was a no vote and insisting they will not pay their BBC licence fee, accusing the corporation of pro-union bias.

Sillars, who has not held public office since losing his Westminster seat in 1992, was an integral part of the Yes campaign and one of its loudest voices.

jim sillars

Jim Sillars (third from the left) pictured campaign with Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon

He was the SNP's deputy leader when he lost his parliamentary seat and was regarded as a contender for the leadership when it became available in 1990, though he did not run and the position went to Salmond instead.

The ex-Labour MP was married to former SNP deputy leader Margo MacDonald, who died in April.

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The 76-year-old has previously said he would refuse to pay the BBC licence fee, if he were not old enough to be entitled to a free one.

Since the referendum result was declared early on Friday morning, Sillars has approvingly tweeted a "disturbing" video alleging the vote was rigged and calling for an enquiry.

Concluding his twitter rant, Sillars said he would "explain to all news SNP recruits why the Independence Mandate matters" at the next party conference in November, which is also when Salmond's replacement as party leader is to be elected.

After making his "day of reckoning" remark, Sillars told the Today Programme said he only said it for the publicity that would allow him airtime to say what he actually thought.

Sillars was tweeted a great deal of support for his latest comments but also castigating criticism.

Controversy has been a long feature of Sillars' career. After losing his seat in 1992, he famously denounced Scots as "90 minute patriots" whose nationalism only lasted the length of a football match.

His weekend twitter activity is very different to what he wrote on Friday, when he said he would "go back into retirement" after the referendum result.

"Enoch Powell said that all political careers end in failure, and I must confess to failure in my expectation of the referendum result, following which I think I should go back into retirement," he wrote in The Edinburgh Evening News.

"There can be no quibble about the result. The number of people who voted was, by any standard, huge. We are a mature people who have gone through the longest and most profound democratic debates in our history, at the end of which we are probably the most politically educated nation in Europe."