J K Rowling has come out in favour of keeping the UK united, and revealed she has made a “substantial” donation, reported as £1m, to the Better Together Campaign, which advocates keeping Scotland within the UK.
In a post on her website, Rowling said there was a “fringe of nationalists” who would probably say she was “’insufficiently Scottish’ to have a valid view” on the issue, being born in the West Country, but, referring to characters from her Harry Potter novels, added: “However, when people try to make this debate about the purity of your lineage, things start getting a little Death Eaterish for my taste.” Rowling said that “by residence, marriage, and out of gratitude for what this country has given me, my allegiance is wholly to Scotland and it is in that spirit that I have been listening to the months of arguments and counter-arguments”.
The author said that the Yes campaign in favour of Scottish independence “promises a fairer, greener, richer and more equal society if Scotland leaves the UK”, and that she is “no fan of the current Westminster government”. But she said: “My 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 21st century pressures as the rest of the world. It must compete in the same global markets, defend itself from the same threats and navigate what still feels like a fragile economic recovery.
“The more I listen to the Yes campaign, the more I worry about its minimisation and even denial of risks. Whenever the big issues are raised – our heavy reliance on oil revenue if we become independent, what currency we’ll use, whether we’ll get back into the EU - reasonable questions are drowned out by accusations of ‘scaremongering.’
“Meanwhile, dramatically differing figures and predictions are being slapped in front of us by both campaigns, so that it becomes difficult to know what to believe.”
Rowling said she feared for the economy of an independent Scotland, which also extended into fears for the future of Scottish medical research, which could be put at risk by an independent Scotland.
Choosing to stay as part of the UK would put Scotland in the “heady position of the spouse who looked like walking out, but decided to give things one last go”.
“If we leave, though, there will be no going back,” Rowling said. “This separation will not be quick and clean: it will take microsurgery to disentangle three centuries of close interdependence, after which we will have to deal with three bitter neighbours. I doubt that an independent Scotland will be able to bank on its ex-partners’ fond memories of the old relationship once we’ve left.”
Rowling said that if “the majority of people in Scotland want independence I truly hope that it is a resounding success”, but that she hoped with all her “heart that we never have cause to look back and feel that we made a historically bad mistake”.
The referendum on independence will be held in September.
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