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Impassioned pleas ahead of Scotland’s independence referendum

“In the second volume of (Nirad Chaudhuri’s) autobiography, he writes of a journey up the Padma by paddle steamer (built, as it happens, on the river outside my window), where the dry season had exposed many sandbanks “and made the river a mass of serpentine streams, like the background of Mona Lisa, of course with the difference that there were no rocks.” It was this scene, observed as a 15-year-old in 1913, which taught him that beauty wasn’t confined to the Britain of his schoolbooks – that it was also present in Bengal. And yet, after the age of 30, he never saw those great rivers of the delta again. First, he was preoccupied by his new life in Kolkata and Delhi, and then, when India was partitioned, his ancestral district found itself in the new nation of Pakistan. Millions of people in India were similarly displaced – or, if they stayed in their homes, found themselves living in a new state. Not for a moment do I make a comparison with the possible break-up of the UK – that would be absurd – except in one regard. To find that the country one grew up in is now a foreign state will be an odd feeling. The United Kingdom that made so many of us will no longer exist. If it happens, I shall grieve”

Ian Jack
Columnist, in the Guardian

J K Rowling

“Some of the most pro-independence people I know think that Scotland need not be afraid of going it alone because it will excel no matter what. This romantic outlook strikes a chord with me because I happen to think that this country is exceptional, too. Scotland has punched above its weight in just about every field of endeavour you care to mention, pouring out world-class scientists, statesmen, economists, philanthropists, sportsmen, writers, musicians and indeed Westminster Prime Ministers in quantities you would expect from a far larger country. 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”

J K Rowling
Novelist, in The Telegraph

William Dalrymple

“I strongly fear that the siren song of independence, attractive and alluring as it is, will lead less to any new and tangible freedoms and instead will turn us inward, indulging in narcissistic nationalism – for such is the pride of small nations everywhere: a Small Scotland attached physically, but no longer politically, to a diminished Little Britain. That would be a great and wholly unnecessary tragedy. After all, we’ve run the English very efficiently for 300 years. I see no good reason to stop now”

William Dalrymple
Writer-historian, in The Telegraph

Sir Alex Ferguson

“We don’t live in a foreign country, we are just in another part of the family of the UK”

Sir Alex Ferguson
Former Manchester United manager, who called for Scots living outside Scotland to have their vote, quoted in The Daily Star

Sir Sean Connery

“The Yes campaign is rooted in inclusiveness, equality and that core democratic value that the people of Scotland are the best guardians of their own future”

Sir Sean Connery
Actor, quoted in The Daily Star

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