Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has waded into the debate over Scottish independence by donating £1 million ($1.6 million) to the 'No' campaign that supports keeping Scotland and the United Kingdom together. Rowling is the latest well-known Scot to voice her opinion on the independence referendum, which will be held on September 18 and is now less than 100 days away.
Rowling, the first female billionaire novelist, was removed from the list in 2012 due to steep British taxes and the huge amount of money she donates to charity, according to Business Insider.
Rowling has lived in Scotland for 21 years, but she was born in England. In a lengthy statement posted on her website today, Rowling said that she is close with representatives for both sides of the debate — Better Together and the Yes Campaign — but that “[m]y hesitance at embracing independence has nothing to do with lack of belief in Scotland’s remarkable people or its achievements. The simple truth is that Scotland is subject to the same twenty-first century pressures as the rest of the world.”
She also noted the “a fringe of nationalists who like to demonize anyone who is not blindly and unquestionably pro-independence," and predicted their assessment of her as "'insufficiently Scottish’ to have a valid view” on independence. For the die-hard fans, Rowling used a helpful piece of Potterese to describe them: “[W]hen people try to make this debate about the purity of your lineage, things start getting a little Death Eaterish for my taste.”
Poll numbers have fluctuated over the past few months, but the latest figures show that there’s increasing support for Scotland to stay in the union. Forty-two percent said they’d vote to remain in the U.K., while 30 percent support independence and 28 percent are undecided.
What are other well-known Scots saying about independence? A full round-up of celebrity supporters can be found at Reuters, but here's a sample.
The former James Bond is a self-described Scottish nationalist and has been extremely vocal about his support for independence. In an article published on the New Statesman website, Connery said that an opportunity for independence is “too good to miss,” especially considering possibilities for the Scottish film industry.
The Good Wife and ‘Caberet’ star posted to his blog in November that the Yes campaign “is the the epitome of hope, optimism and positivity and I believe that independence is best for Scotland.” Now living in America, Cumming said that only once he left the U.K. did he feel like his Scottishness was celebrated.
The identical twin duo, best known for their song ‘I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles),’ have become leading figures in the pro-independence movement, and have recorded a number of videos explaining why 'Yes' is the way to vote.
Remaining in the U.K.
Bowie delivered his support via Kate Moss during the Brit Awards in February; during his victory speech she read out his statement, which also said, “Scotland, stay with us.” As the Guardian’s Conal Urquhart points out, Bowie was born and brought up in London, so it’s not immediately clear where the Scottish link comes from, but his injection into the debate has nevertheless proved influential.
Ashton Kutcher’s favorite singer and winner of 'Britain’s Got Talent' (most recently seen in Rick Santorum’s faith-based film ‘The Christmas Candle’) said back in July that she would vote ‘no’ for independence. She told The Sun newspaper that she remains a “proud, patriotic Scot,” but that she’s not a nationalist.
Sir Alex Ferguson
The former Manchester United boss, originally from Govan, west Glasgow, has voiced support for Scotland staying within the U.K. He donated £501 to the 'Better Together' campaign, angered by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond's plan to limit donations outside of Scotland to £500. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has floated the idea of making Ferguson star in pro-U.K. commercials. We're sure he'd be thrilled.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.