Sunday 21 December 2014

Celebrities join forces to keep Scotland in the UK

Andrew Osborn

Published 08/08/2014 | 02:30

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Singer Mick Jagger, actress Judi Dench and scientist Stephen Hawking are among 200 British stars who have signed a letter urging Scotland to remain part of the UK, six weeks before a historic referendum on independence.

The letter, an attempt to sway Scots before the September 18 vote, was organised by 'Let's Stay Together', a group which says it aims to give a voice to the millions of Britons outside Scotland who don't have the right to vote.

Only Scottish residents can take part in the referendum, meaning people who live in England, Wales and Northern Ireland don't have a say.

Opinion polls show most Scots will vote against breaking the 307-year union with England. But they also show that many have not yet decided how they will vote, injecting some uncertainty into the outcome.

The letter, signed by a Who's Who of celebrities, many of them English, was organised by Dan Snow and Tom Holland, well-known TV historians in Britain.

Released at an event on the banks of the River Thames in London close to Tower Bridge, organisers said an extraordinary list of famous Britons had signed the letter.

"The decision on whether to leave our shared country is, of course, absolutely yours alone," said the letter, which was addressed to "Dear Voters of Scotland".

"Nevertheless, that decision will have a huge effect on all of us in the rest of the United Kingdom. We want to let you know how very much we value our bonds of citizenship with you, and to express our hope that you will vote to renew them."

Other big names who signed the appeal included actresses Helena Bonham-Carter and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, singer Cliff Richard, 'X Factor' supremo Simon Cowell, and actor Dominic West, star of cult US series 'The Wire'.

Between them, organisers said the signatories had 18 Olympic gold medals, 44 BAFTA awards, one Nobel Prize and two Turner Prizes.

Other celebrities, notably singer David Bowie and Harry Potter author JK Rowling, had already spoken out against independence, but not in such numbers and at the same time.

Some pro-independence Scottish nationalists have suggested that the English, who have a long and at times bloody history with the Scots, would be glad if Scotland left the UK.

But Dan Snow, a great-great-grandson of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and one of the organisers, said only a "tiny minority" of English people were indifferent or wanted Scotland to become independent."

Irish Independent

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