Scottish comedy legend Billy Connolly has rejected claims that he’d lead the campaign against Scottish independence. In an interview in today’s Sunday Herald, the ‘Big Yin’ made it clear that he would take a neutral position. He said, “the people are going to make their choice without me. I think that’s a great thing. I’ll abide by it. Whatever happens it’s okay by me.” Other prominent Scottish comedians such as Frankie Boyle, Hardeep Singh Kohli, Greg Hemphill, Robert Florence and Brian Limond (Limmy) have declared their support for independence.
Connolly’s statement is an embarrassment to those in the no campaign who touted him as crucial to their campaign. Tom Harris, Labour MP, wanted Connolly to be a ‘figurehead’ in the campaign against independence. Harris said, “I would happily approach him myself. I hope that whoever becomes leader of the Labour party in Scotland will make an approach to him.” It’s unclear whether any approach was made.
Connolly recently returned to Scotland for film work. He said “It’s changed so much. But it’s changing for the better, I think.”
Although some members of the no campaign have claimed that next year’s referendum is already won, others have pointed to a lack of cultural support as the campaign’s weak spot. Recently The Scotsman commented on “concerns among unionists of a perception that the cultural scene in Scotland is overwhelmingly independence-friendly, with a host of writers, actors and musicians having declared their intention to vote Yes.”
The confidence of the artistic community in Scotland has often been linked to support for independence. National Collective, for instance, remains unparalleled within the no campaign.
Photograph by kcnickerson
— Michael Gray (@GrayInGlasgow) July 21, 2013