A Difference of Opinion
My Political Journey
by Jim Sillars
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From the Attlee landslide in 1945 to Harold Wilson's devolution woes, from SNP MP on the inside to outside strategic critic , his take on independence remains original and unique. This memoir straddles some momentous events which are told with real insight from a man with a ringside seat
Bernard Ponsonby, Special Correspondent, STV
Jim Sillars hails from Burn's country and is the living embodiment of the bard's "man of independent mind". Required reading for anyone who wants to understand the strange death of Labour in Scotland and the demise of Alex Salmond
Michael Forsyth, Secretary of State for Scotland 1995-97
Sillars has a new book out, A Difference of Opinion, which is partly a memoir but also a diagnosis of where we are and where we’re going
Neither dogmatic nor over-defensive, it offers a basis for civilised, rational debate on Scotland’s constitutional future…an unusually interesting book about Scottish politics, with wider perspectives
Mr Sillars pays fulsome tribute to his wife and writes of the SNP leadership’s efforts to stymie her Scottish Parliament career
Edinburgh Evening News
[an] enthralling autobiography… Sillars is a man of outstanding ability, terrifyingly wellread, a profound and original thinker
About the Book
Jim Sillars, among the last of his generation’s working-class politicians, has had a prominent role in Scottish public life for more than six decades, during which he moved from being a Unionist Labour MP to becoming deputy leader of the SNP and now a sharp critic of the party’s cult of personality.
In this candid memoir, he records a controversial political life from local councillor to Westminster MP, during which he had dealings with many prominent politicians of the day. But he also reflects on what moulded him in his early years, the added influences of his service in the Royal Navy, his time in Hong Kong, his trade union activity and his non-political business engagements in the Middle East and Asia.
Bringing the book up to date to address contemporary issues, he offers views on Brexit, Russia, the Middle East, climate change, the Alex Salmond trial and the consequences of the 2021 Holyrood election.
He and Margo MacDonald, to whom he was married for thirty-three years, were a formidable political partnership until her death in 2014. He pays a heartfelt tribute to her in this book.
Jim Sillars was born and brought up in Ayr. After a succession of early jobs, he joined the Royal Navy and was drafted to Hong Kong. Leaving the Navy he went into the Fire Brigade, becoming active in trade unionism and the Labour Party. Following years serving as a Labour MP in Westminster he split with Labour Party and formed the Scottish Labour Party before joining the SNP. He was elected the SNP MP for Govan in 1988. In his later career he became Assistant to the Secretary General of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce and also served six years on the board of Scottish Enterprise. He lives in Edinburgh.
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Paperback | Pub: 17 Sep 2020£9.99
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