A little over a year ago a No voting friend challenged me to name twenty artists and creatives who support Scottish independence and I managed to name over fifty. With 8 months left until Scotland’s Referendum my once No voting friend has become a Yes voting friend, and the cultural momentum towards the Yes campaign is growing rapidly.
As a demonstration of this momentum, National Collective is delighted to present ‘100 Artists and Creatives who support Scottish Independence’ – a record of those who have made their support for an independent Scotland public in the press or online.
Adam Sutherland, fiddler and composer (Source)
“For the past three decades traditional musicians across Scotland have been battling to have our unique musical heritage taken seriously not just by those who live here, but also by the rest of the world. It seems to me that our self-confidence as a nation is directly affected by how we view our own culture and heritage. We have been waking up to a new respect for our own traditional music and this has been aiding our overall sense of self-worth. It now looks like we’re ready to take the next big step.”
Aidan Moffat, Scottish vocalist and musician, who performed with Malcolm Middleton in Arab Strap (Source)
“Independence isn’t about breaking away or creating borders, nor nationalist pride. It’s about building the better society that we hope for. It’s an opportunity to create the environment we’ve consistently voted for; it’s being responsible for our own future by democratically electing the people we trust to make it so.
We can be better. We can be brilliant. It won’t be easy and it will take time, but a good future only comes from hard work.
I’m not scared of it being difficult, I’m scared of my children being trapped in the same miserable system in twenty years’ time and blaming me for doing nothing about it. Independence is not a negative; it is – to my mind – the only positive way to achieve the future Scotland that most of us seem to want.
I think a vote for independence is a vote for promise, for potential, for a better place. And I’d rather gamble for a better life than accept the shit we’ve been dealt.”
Aly Bain, Shetland fiddler (Source)
“I believe that all decisions regarding Scotland internationally and at home should be made by people living in Scotland that have our nation’s interests at heart.
“For too many years of my life I have lived under Westminster governments who neither I, nor the majority of Scottish people voted for, and I fail to understand how this is acceptable.
“I hope that the Scottish people have the confidence to vote for themselves and ignore the scaremongering tactics that are being used by the opposition which I personally find insulting.”
“As a musician who has played in every nook and cranny of Scotland, I see a nation full of confidence with a strong identity, unique culture and a great sense of justice; a truly wonderful foundation for any nation.”
AL Kennedy, writer of novels, short stories and non-fiction (Source)
“The more Westminster disappoints, then the more attractive and untraumatic independence may seem. And perhaps that’s a telling detail – when one partner cares about a break-up and the other is halfway to moving on, perhaps the relationship has had its day.”
Alan Bissett, award-winning author, playwright and performer (Source)
“This is our one chance to vote for something better than the depressing, careerist, London-first politicians we’ve grown used to. Imagine the euphoria the day after we vote Yes to independence. Think of all that we’ve been denied. What a fresh new start! We’d have our own successes to be proud of and our own mistakes to take responsibility for. If we vote No to independence we are killing our children’s generation, shackling them to the Tories again and again. On the other hand, we could have a fully-realised country, a chance denied us for centuries, and now within our grasp.
“Vote Yes to independence. Vote as though you live in the early days of a better nation. Let’s make Scotland great.”
Alan McGee, founder of Creation Records and manager of Oasis, Primal Scream and The Libertines (Source)
“Scotland should have more powers. It should be much more like Ireland and a celtic haven for artists. We should be making it easier for people to exist, with tax breaks not just for musicians to live in their home country but artists like Jim Lambie, who shouldn’t have to live in New York.”
Alan Cumming, stage, television and film actor (Source)
“I believe that independence can only add to our potential and to release a whole new wave of creativity, ambition, confidence and pride. The evidence is clear – in the past 15 years we have become stronger economically, socially, culturally and globally. The world is waiting for us and I know Scotland is ready.
Alan McCredie, photographer (Source)
“On a very personal level I want independence because I want all nuclear weapons removed from Scotland, and even better from the British Isles altogether. Leaving aside the utterly disgusting cost of this weaponry I have no wish to be part of any nation that inhabits the moral wasteland that possession of these weapons of mass destruction leads to.”
Alasdair Stephen, co-founder of award winning architects Dualchas Building Design (Source)
“I’m voting yes for an independent Scotland because I want Scotland to be normal. I want us to be like every other county. When Scotland’s independent, the next day everything’s going to look the same – but what will be different is attitude.”
Alex Boyd, critically acclaimed photographer (Source)
“We have already shown the world what generations of Scots, with unique imagination, talents and energy can achieve. Should we not also use the same imagination when it comes to our own future? Independence may not be the easiest path available to us, however in my mind it is the only way that we can harness our true potential. Most of all we owe it to ourselves to see what Scotland can create when we stand together and take ownership of our future.”
Alasdair Gray, acclaimed Scottish writer and artist (Source)
“Self-rule would would end the infantilising effect of Westminster rule. It would make us grow up.”
Andrew Eaton-Lewis, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday Arts Editor, producer and musician (Source)
“As an artist and arts journalist, I’ll be voting based on instinct, hope and empathy, but not – if I’m honest with myself – anything much more solid than that. And, as a citizen and human being, I’ll be voting for what I believe is a fairer, more progressive way of running a small country.”
Arthur Cormack, Scottish Gaelic singer and musician (Source)
“Bu chòir dhuinn gluasad air adhart ann an Alba le aon ghuth a’ guidhe gun bhotadh a h-ule duine yes, no Bu Chòir!
Everyone in Scotland should move forward together with one voice to secure a yes vote.”
Billy Bragg, alternative rock musician and left-wing activist (Source)
“Scottish independence throws up the possibility of a more progressive England. We won’t be British any more, we’ll be English.”
Bill Smith, singer, writer, architect (Source)
“Our tradition defines us. Our music and culture has survived to remind us all of who we are. While other aspects of our cultural lives have been lost or forgotten the chanters, actors, poets and writers have continued to enlighten, nourish and support us with each syllable of our daily lives enriched by their talents. We must find delight again in who we truly are and reach for our independence as a nation; an independence that so many of those early makers who prepared the way could only have dreamed of.”
Brian Cox, actor (Source)
“I think Scotland has earned the right to its own nation status. It has earned the right to control its own destiny. And it will certainly make a better job of it than that parliament (Westminster) which has not the foggiest clue about Scotland’s cultural, economic and social needs.”
Calum Stewart, musician (Source)
Real democracy. Regardless of political party, cultural heritage, race or religion – independence gives true representation in Scotland. Voting Yes, is for a future in which your vote really counts, not a vote for any political party.
Accepting the opportunity to prioritise the protection of the most vulnerable, healthcare, environment and education. It’s refusing involvement in illegal wars, and the development and storage of nuclear weapons against the people’s will.
Progressing as a peaceful, culturally diverse nation, striving for healthier and fairer links with our neighbours, whilst speaking with its own voice internationally.”
Charlie and Craig Reid, The Proclaimers (Source)
“We’re voting Yes for an Independent Scotland because we believe that we should take responsibility for our own lives. This country has huge national resources, with its people, its wave power – all the possibilities that this country has. We need to protect our old, our vulnerable, and to do that we need to take charge of our own affairs. That’s why we are voting Yes for an Independent Scotland.”
“We’re voting Yes to an independent Scotland because we want to see a fairer and more just society, we think that is much more possible if we ran all of our own affairs, and stopped blaming other people. That’s why we are voting Yes for an independent Scotland.”
Chris Wright, ethnologist and traditional singer (Source)
“In essence, engaging with tradition is a fundamentally democratic act; and in a Scotland which has never known true democracy, it becomes a vital one. That’s why our shared songs, stories, music and dance are integral to who were are, and who we want to be. They are our enduring promise to ourselves and to our children that a better future is possible.
“Next year, the carrying stream of tradition will arrive at a unique place. For the first time in history, people in Scotland will have an opportunity to do more than simply cope. We will have the chance to make our aspirations for genuine and meaningful democracy, kept alive in story and song, into the wellspring of a new future.”
Corrina Hewat, harpist, singer, composer and teacher (Source)
“My whole world is based in and on Scotland, music old and new, the culture and traditions, the land and the people. I believe Scotland can govern itself. I believe we will be stronger for it. It takes confidence and belief in ourselves to vote yes. I have that confidence. Scotland is the home of my wee girl and I want her to flourish in a country rich in the abundant natural resources within the country and ourselves as a people. I believe in free healthcare, free education, nuclear disarmament and I believe my and my child’s vote should count.”
David Greig, playwright and theatre director (Source)
“If the Union between Scotland and England has been a marriage, then the (last) Holyrood election was like the moment when the wife looks at her husband and realises – suddenly and clearly – that it’s over. There’s been love in the marriage, there’s been strength in adversity, there’s history, financial issues, kids even… but it can’t be avoided any more. This couple have drifted apart, they’re interested in different things, they argue all the time, they fight about money, and… there’s something else. Something more serious. She doesn’t really recognise him any more. He’s not the man she fell in love with. It’s a moment without rancour, without bitterness: a great sigh of relief at the inevitable acknowledgement of the obvious… it’s time to go our separate ways.”
David Hayman, actor (Source)
“Everyone is saying if Scotland leaves the UK we (Scotland) would be bankrupt, but UK PLC is bankrupt already.”
Dick Gaughan, folk musician, singer and songwriter (Source)
“I have no argument with England or with English people. My argument is with the United Kingdom, and with the humiliating situation we have been in for 300 years as a junior subservient insignificant member of that Union.”
Dolina MacLennan actress (who performed in ‘Cheviot, The Stag And The Black Black Oil‘) and singer (Source)
“Why am I voting Yes? Because I love my Country — I love the way we welcome the World to be part of our Country. My Nationalism is International. I would want a Free Scotland to extend our arms (not nuclear arms) across the world and say “This is a Country of Peace.” I love my heritage. It’s my Birthright. Most of all, I owe it to the stalwarts who went before, and to the present and next generation. We can do it. WE ARE GOING TO DO IT. There is no alternative.”
Dougie McLean, singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer (Source)
“I have always been a great champion of independence, not just national independence – but also independence in my own life. About 20 years ago I moved back to Scotland and set up my own record company. And I mean, when I grew up we felt very distant to Westminster and the political decisions that were happening. Independence is more about self-confidence and controlling your own mechanics or your own life and not anything controversial or aggressive.”
Eddi Reader, singer-songwriter (Source)
“Here’s to a new ‘union’ between two whole countries both running their own individual affairs. I’m voting Yes for having my own parliament. Poor or rich, left wing or right, it will be mine and my business!”
Edwin Morgan (1920-2010), makar and translator (Source)
“When you (Members of the Scottish Parliament) convene you will be reconvening, with a sense of not wholly the power, not yet wholly the power, but a good sense of what was once in the honour of your grasp.”
“All right. Forget, or don’t forget, the past. Trumpets and robes are fine, but in the present and the future you will need something more.”
Elaine C. Smith, actress and comedienne (Source)
“I doubt if the people of India or Ireland or Norway when striving for self determination and a right to govern themselves asked only if they would be richer or better off? Surely being an independent country is as much to do with how we feel in our hearts and minds rather then only economics. In this world even being the strongest and richest economy cannot guarantee a job and secure a future-as many people across the world will tell us today.
“By having Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands we in the Yes campaign believe that we can and will make Scotland a better place to live and work… from looking after our old and our sick, ensuring that our young people have a chance of a decent job and a better future, that our education system improves and that poverty. Yes, that grinding poverty that has afflicted so many parts of our country both in our cities and our rural communities for far too long is a thing of the past.
“Becoming independent is no magic pill but I believe it is the start, a real start, for this country and its people, on the wonderful journey to a better nation.”
Emma Gillespie, Emma’s Imagination (Source)
“I would like to see Scotland become independent. Culturally we are very different from England and we are yet to fully explore that. I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs, but it would create a greater sense of community and we would have control and responsibility over our own future. It would be good news for Scottish music and film as we would have more control over our own broadcasting and be able to provide better platforms for bands, artists, producers and directors to create a more thriving scene up here. Hopefully we’d get better phone signals and internet speed too! We would keep the NHS and welfare state which is unfortunately becoming privatised in England and it would have a positive effect on our education systems. It’s time we went out respectfully on our own and were neighbours to England rather than “under the wing”. This bodes for a better relationship between the two countries in the future.”
Emma Pollock, singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and a founding member of The Delgados, The Burns Unit and The Fruit Tree Foundation (Source)
“I’ve never really been one for politics. The whole thing reminds me of being back in the school playground trying to negotiate my way through endless shifting seas of loyalty, betrayal and the occasional fist fight when blood ran high. Everything about it seems utterly confused and diluted by ulterior motive, manipulation and underhand tactics.
“The Scottish independence debate has, however, grabbed my attention. The devolved Scottish parliament has achieved a lot of great things, and I like the fact it can represent a country that has a subtly different way of looking at things when compared to its Union neighbours. We are becoming more at ease with taking control over national issues and this control is now jealously guarded as we witness increased division between approaches in England & Wales and Scotland with regards to health care, education and elements of social reform.
To be continually dictated to by a party we did not choose will be harder to bear as the years progress. I am, as I suspect many are, nervous of voting ‘Yes’ just because it’s a nice idea to rule your own roost and it is of course human nature to want to divide and then subdivide geographical areas of power into smaller and smaller areas to give more localised control. We still have no real understanding of the fiscal and economic impact and given the recent currency row I can only imagine what other complications will be thrown up by both sides between now and the referendum. No-one, therefore, can tell us exactly what we will be walking into but on balance it seems increasingly worth taking the chance on.”
Erin Catriona Farley, storyteller and folklorist (Source)
“Tradition is inherently open to change – a story is transformed by its tellers and listeners each time it is told. This is why the traditional arts have such potential for communicating, making connections and bringing people together. Tradition is more of a conversation than a performance.
“Having the confidence to change, to leave behind things that don’t work, and to create something new in its place, are the very things which make a tradition survive.
“I will be voting Yes next year in a similar spirit – a yes vote is an opportunity for the people of Scotland to being telling a new kind of cultural and political story, to begin changing where we are now into somewhere we’d rather be – somewhere our individual voices can contribute to the conversation about what happens next.”
Eunice Olumide, Scottish supermodel, fashion designer, actress and presenter (Source)
“To me, it makes absolutely no sense to change more than we need to and that having an independent Government will mean that Scottish people just have more control over their own lives; rather than this sort of top down centralisation of power that currently exists.”
Exclamation Mark, Pop Campaign (Source)
“For me, independence is a simple choice between accepting the current state of play or aiming for something better.”
Fiona Dunn, Gaelic language development, singer (Source)
“For me it is all about potential! The potential for change that independence would bring cannot be underestimated. I believe that every generation must grasp this opportunity to shape their own future. As an independent nation, we can define our own political and cultural identity, one that reflects the people who live and work here today, at both a national and international level.”
“Tha na cothroman a bhiodh an lùib neo-eisimeileach do dhaoine ann an Alba, cho mòr is nach urrainn dhuinn an cothrom seo a chall. Nam bheachdsa, bu chòir do gach ginealach an cothrom seo a ghabhail airson an t-slighe aca fhèin a stiùireadh san àm ri teachd. Mar dhùthaich neo-eisimeileach, faodamaid dearbh-aithne phoileataigeach agus chultarail a chruthachadh a bhuineas dha na daoine a bhios a’ fuireach agus ag obair ann an Alba an-diugh fhèin, aig ìre nàiseanta agus eadar-nàiseanta.”
Finlay Napier, singer-songwriter (Source)
“I will vote yes because I no longer believe that my vote in a UK election counts for anything. I believe in free healthcare for all, a free education for all and I believe in nuclear disarmament. I don’t think independence will be easy or quick but I believe it is an important investment that will benefit our children and us later in life.”
Fi Vass, singer-songwriter (Source)
“Studies show that the more evenly national wealth is distributed, the happier its citizens are. It is inequality that breeds unhappiness. I am filled with confidence by the way the Scots vote. It makes me proud to be Scottish and makes me hopeful for a better future. We vote against a government that supports an upwards cash flow, whereby the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Unfortunately just now, that vote doesn’t determine who governs us. But it should. And it can, if we vote ‘yes’. One of the many reasons I will be voting ‘Aye’ in the referendum.”
Frankie Boyle, comedian and writer (Source)
“It’s an ‘aye’ (for Independence) from me, man.”
Fraser Fifield, musician and composer (Source)
“The UK government are responsible in every parliamentary term for the murder, or aiding and abetting in the murder, of thousands of innocent people the world over. The British Empire seems to have morphed into the US Empire which conducts itself with just the same amount of savagery, with our help as tax paying citizens.
Let’s make a future independent Scotland an example of peace, compassion and transparency, respecting the equal rights of every single being on this planet, that other nations might follow.”
Gav Prentice, Over The Wall (Source)
“I’m voting Yes for two reasons: because so many of the great injustices carried out against the people in Scotland have only been possible because they have been ruled by successive governments that they did not elect; and from out of a belief that the best road to internationalism is via decentralisation, the dismantling of the old imperialist world powers, and self-determination.”
Gerard Butler, actor (Source)
“I can’t see any reason why Scotland shouldn’t be independent – it’s a country with different attitudes, people and outlook.”
Gerry Hassan, writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland (Source)
“Scottish independence is about maturing and growing up, about people recognising that they have the power to shape their collective future. It is a powerful, positive story, and the only people who should feel threatened are the narrow elites who gain so much from the status quo. A post-British politics would allow for a very different kind of Britain and Britishness to arise. That’s why large elements of Scottish society and opinion are galvanised and enthused by this historic possibility.”
Hardeep Singh Kohli, comedian (Source)
“Westminster were naïve to think a Scottish parliament would dampen the hopes of the Scottish people. Devolution wasn’t about creating a nation, it was about restoring a nation. And let’s face it, the political system in Scotland was set up as to never have a majority administration. It was only a matter of time before people wanted more. That time is now.”
Harry Giles, poet (Source)
Iain Banks (16 February 1954 – 9 June 2013), writer (Source)
“Scotland could have a viable future as an independent country… It remains both possible and plausible that Scotland could become a transparent, low-inequality society on the Scandinavian model, with fair non-regressive taxes, strong unions, a nuclear-free policy, a non-punitive tertiary education system, enlightened social policies in general and long-term support for green energy programmes.”
Irvine Welsh, contemporary novelist (Source)
“I think Scotland is on the brink of great and exciting things. It’s actually beginning to realise itself now. The nationalist debate seems to have got a lot more mature.
“The two countries have gone their separate ways, so independence seems inevitable.
“I always think the Union is nature’s way of stopping the Scots ruling the world. We’d be unstoppable if we were independent. We’d still emigrate in droves but we’d do it from a very entrenched position of confidence. All that ambition and arrogance would be unbridled right across the world. It would be a sight to behold.”
Isobel Campbell, Scottish singer, cellist and composer (Source)
“I would love to see Scotland flourish, prosper and blossom in her independence. It’s important for us as Scots to acknowledge our roots and remember where we came from, but even more important to shake off the old belief systems that no longer serve us and embrace all possibilities and newness in order to realise the fullness of our potential.
Each of us can make a difference. It’s time for Scotland as a nation to heal and let go of grudges or hard done-by feelings about the past. It’s time for us to take great care and respect and nourish each other.
The glory days of Victorian colonialism, Britannia and the Empire are long gone. As Scots we are steeped in a unique, abundant history and culture all of our own. Moving forward, it’s imperative for each of us to remember who we really are.
We are a nation of industry, of world-renowned builders, inventors, craftsmen, engineers, writers, poets, philosophers and artists. If we do this right we’ll go from strength to strength and thrive as a nation because we always have had, and always will have, so much to share with the rest of the world. And if independence happens we’ll need to choose our official national anthem because right now we only have unofficial ones. Unless anything more dazzling presents itself I think it should be Auld Lang Syne.”
Jack Vettriano, painter and publisher (Source)
“I think any small country that is attached to a big country wants independence.”
Janice Galloway, writer of novels, short stories, prose-poetry, non-fiction and libretti (Source)
“I believe Scottish priorities for solutions to health, education and social mobility might be different. This is healthy. Tax-raising powers might make it healthier still. The Scottish Government needs to establish that its motivation has more in common with Small Is Beautiful than “Scotland the Brave” if it is to be the credible answer. But if it can – and that’s a big if – the risk of secession will be worth taking.
You (rest of UK) will not miss us at all, just what we signified – the last kick of Empire and a lost notion of Glory. My English husband thinks so. My mother, raised in Yorkshire, would think it too if she were here. The suitcase is waiting. Let’s talk turkey.”
James Cosmo, actor (Source)
“I don’t want us to waste a £100 Billion on new nuclear weapons.”
James Kelman, influential writer of novels, short stories, plays and political essays (Source)
“Scotland does have a history. I’m not sure where it belongs, in the history of servitude, subjection, psychotic inferiorisation, god knows, these different ways people avoid responsibility. We need a proper debate and it’s up to us that it should go that way. How many of us never mind the rest of Britain know that those in favour of independence are not necessarily nationalist? It’s said of me. Let me repeat I am not a nationalist but I favour independence 100%. I was on a platform with four other Scottish writers in France recently. Each of us favours independence, and none of us is a Nationalist, as far as I know.
“Independence is not an economic decision, it concerns self-respect. How many countries do we know in the world where the people need a debate about whether or not they should determine their own existence.”
James Robertson, novelist (Source)
“In an independent Scotland,the country’s indigenous language will be given more value and status, and people will feel much more proud and confident in using these words.”
James Yorkston, musician (Source)
“I believe Scotland is a distinct country and should be governed by the people who inhabit Scotland and have the best interests of Scotland at heart.”
Janine Shilstone, Vukovi (Source)
“I’m all for independence. I’m not sure things could get any worse and talk that the NHS might not exist in the next few years is worrying. For me, the Conservatives stand for “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”. We wouldn’t want to see Scotland missing out on the bigger picture, but at the same time I think Scotland has missed out on a lot of things as a country. Scotland could stand for something in the way that Norway has done. There is an opportunity for something innovative and visionary. In a small country like Scotland, modern-day issues could be sweetly represented in terms of trying to tackle violence, crime and unemployment.”
Jenny Lindsay, poet (Source)
“I firmly believe that, given the chance, Scotland could become a different country; a more democratic, socially-minded, less-individualistic country. I have been accused of idealism. It is true. I have to believe in a better world, even if, for the moment, I have to live in this one.”
Jim Delahunt, sports TV Presenter (Source)
“I’m definitely for – we have incredible intellect in this country and we’re big enough and ugly enough to give it a go.”
Joan McAlpine, former editor of The Sunday Times and deputy editor of The Herald (Source)
“Don’t believe anyone who tells you Scotland is subsidised and couldn’t survive as an independent country.
If that was the case, why have governments in London been so desperate to hang on to us?”
Joe Black, Washington Irvine (Source)
“The signs have been encouraging and if the vote was tomorrow I would vote for independence. But I’d prefer it if all the amazing northern English towns were in with us too and Glasgow was the capital. And Chris, our drummer, was elected King.”
John Douglas, Trashcan Sinatras (Source)
“It has always been a source of frustration to me that the generally socially conscious, community based, fair minded voting patterns of Scotland have been relatively futile in impact. In fact, for the majority of my life, Scotland has been governed by non socially conscious governments. It felt awful and frustrating to live through, still does, and now there is a chance, one chance, to take what will always be, to some degree, a leap in the dark and take hold of complete autonomy for ourselves. A chance to reflect our own well documented national psyche with all policy and finance decisions at our own behest.
I don’t look at the issue as one of separation, I don’t believe it will be divisive. It is a clearly overdue re-drawing of the rules of our on-going relationship that, I believe, will eventually enhance our friendship with the English population.”
John Cummings, Mogwai (Source)
“Countries should be independent. Scotland is a country.”
John McKay, director (Source)
“The thing about new eras is that they tend to excite people. I think that one of the less worrying effects of a Scotland that’s confident enough to [vote Yes] is that we’re probably confident enough to make great art.”
John Wallace, principal of Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (Source)
“Scots sleepwalked through the twentieth century, blaming all and sundry for their woes. I’ve been all over the place looking because I was a twentieth century Scot. I came to the conclusion Scotland is an absolutely brilliant place to work and put your energies into. If you love Scotland, it gives you love back. Scotland’s creativity and confidence have been enhanced by devolution. Independence? It would skyrocket.”
Karine Polwart, Scottish singer-songwriter (Source)
“I’m not sure if the question ought to be whether Scotland should be an independent country. I think an independent Scotland could be – and needs to be. Better than this supposedly ‘together’ UK that seems hell-bent on driving us apart from each other. But it’s up to the people who live here to make it that way.
There’s no certainty, only a once-in-my-lifetime opportunity. Visceral alienation from Westminster – and from neoliberal policies that engender cruelty, indignity and inequality (the abandonment of the NHS, welfare reform propaganda) – is the heart of it for me. I observe a profound and permanent erosion of communitarian values amongst the political and economic elite at UK level. And I sense something different here: an opportunity, with extended powers to a parliamentary infrastructure that already manages a whack of our affairs, to reassert those values as the underpinning for a whole country.
Of course, the taxes we need to support a caring, compassionate, creative and sustainable society depend upon a thriving economy. But it’s not all about whether each individual or family will be better or worse off. The American songwriter Si Kahn sums it up for me:
It’s not just what you’re born with
It’s what you choose to bear
It’s not how big your share is
But how much you can share
And it’s not the fights you dreamed of
But those you really fought
It’s not what you’ve been given
It’s what you do with what you’ve got”
Kirsty Law, singer-songwriter (Source)
“To an artist who is constantly drawing upon Scotland, its people and its culture for inspiration, the question of independence is an obvious one, and ‘Yes’ is the obvious answer. Musicians in this country have the privilege to have a perspective of Scotland’s cultural development through the carrying stream of tradition, constantly reinventing, reinterpreting, evolving and flourishing. And every other aspect of Scotland’s culture should be the same. This is why I will be voting Yes.”
Katie Sutherland, recording artist (Source)
“It makes sense to me. It’s wise to take this opportunity and place this country in our own hands. Scotland elected one Tory MP in the last general election yet still there is a Tory government in power. We need a fairer future. Surely we want to build the type of country we want our children and further generations to live in?”
Ken Loach, Palme D’Or winning English film and television director (Source)
“If I had the change to be independent from the Tory-Liberal-New Labour bunch, I ‘d jump at it. Scotland has the right to hold any referendum it likes. The English ruling class are such dyed-in-the-wool imperialists that they can’t conceive anything can happen without your approval. But I think: go for it. Other colonised countries have asserted their independence.”
Kerr Okan, The LaFontaines (Source)
“From what reliable information I can gather we would thrive as an independent country but it comes down to representation and the lack of voice we currently have in the UK. It’s demonstrated year after year how little say Scotland has in electing our Prime Minister. How can we expect to progress and better ourselves as a nation or have our views represented at an international level when we’re under the thumb of a party practically no one up here wanted or agrees with?”
Kevin Bridges, comedian (Source)
“If the referendum was tomorrow, I’d probably vote yes. We’ve had New Labour, never worked. The coalition’s clearly not working. There’s one Tory seat in Scotland. The Tory government, they’re good for comedy, but Scotland’s clearly a different country politically, and culturally as well. It’s the third option.”
Kevin Williamson, Bella Caledonia, author and founder of Rebel Inc.
“If Yes wins in 2014, an exciting but unprecedented factor comes into play for the first time in Scottish history. From May 2016 onwards ALL government policy will be decided by the people of Scotland as expressed through elections – rather than deferring back to London. This is normalisation. It is why we’re involved in the Yes campaign.”
Kieran Hurley, award-winning playwright (Source)
“What Alistair Carmichael is quite brazenly and openly saying is that if – like him – you value the current system of inward looking, world-fearing, foreigner-hating, violent racism and believe it “works well” then vote No. If however, you would like to live in a country with a much more welcoming attitude towards immigrants and refugees and are willing to see change happen to implement that, vote Yes.”
Kirsty Keatch, musician (Source)
“I am proud to be Scottish, and having lived on a small Spanish island that’s fiercely passionate about its own identity, its own language and wrestles with the effects of isolation from central government, I can understand the vision of an independent Scotland. We have to believe in ourselves, our capabilities, our resources.”
Kyle Falkoner, lead vocalist of The View (Source)
“I think Scotland should be independent. People here are smart enough and capable enough to run their own country. And I think we could do a better job of it. There is so much talent in Scotland – we need to do more to promote what we have.
“An independent Scotland could have a stronger Scottish music industry which wasn’t so focused on London. If Scotland was in charge of its own broadcasting we could have radio stations with more Scottish music airplay to give new artists a better chance of making it.”
Lari Don, Children’s writer (Source)
“For me, being independent means knowing who you are and taking responsibility for yourself. I don’t see why we should be one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t grow up, take responsibility for itself and fulfill its potential.”
Lesley Riddoch, writer (Source)
“It seems there was surprise in some quarters that I announced an intention to vote Yes in the 2014 ballot despite arguing for more than a year that 37 per cent of Scots (at last opinion poll count) should have the chance to back their preferred “in-between” constitutional option. The presumption was that any supporter of a Devo Plus option on the referendum ballot must be planning to use it. Not necessarily.
The moral authority of the 2014 referendum ballot will be directly related to the degree of fairness involved in framing it. I wanted a “free vote” on all the most popular constitutional options, not just some. You might say that’s perverse. I’d say that’s democracy – and I suspect the non-party political majority of Scots might agree.”
Limmy, comedian, actor, writer, musician and web developer (Source)
“When that independence referendum comes, vote yes fellow Scots, vote yes. It’s over.”
Liz Lochhead, Scots Makar, poet and dramatist (Source)
“As I have the honour for the next three-and-half years of being the Makar, it is very, very easy to fly the flag for the centrality of poetry which means truth in language to Scottish life. I am very, very happy and proud today to be wearing this badge and to say yes.”
Lou Hickey, vintage pop singer (Source)
“I believe independence is the way to a better future for Scotland. We need to have control to focus on the issues that are top of our priority list. We need to be able to benefit from our country’s assets. We need to be able to nurture and support our own creative and talented minds.
“Independence isn’t just about the Scottish National Party. Once we have independence, we can have the government we choose. We could have new parties that properly represent the many voices of our nation. Maybe Scottish Labour could return to what it started out as; a working man’s party.
“This is a huge decision for Scotland, and it must not be taken lightly. The people need to know the facts and not be steered by scaremongering, history or false propaganda. It’s not about what happened in Scotland’s past. Its about what our future could and should be.”
Luke Daniels, multi-instrumentalist, singer and music producer (Source)
“Scotland is such an exciting place to be right now with an energy and positivism that its people now have the chance to fully realise and define as their own.”
Mairi McFadyen, cultural researcher, ethnologist (Source)
“I will vote yes because I believe we have everything to gain from independence. Voting No is not an option. For me, the debate is primarily about democracy. It’s not so much about who we are or where we’ve come from, but where we’re going: who we choose to be. With the full powers independence would bring, we could build a society based not on competition but on mutual cooperation. We could stay out of unnecessary and illegal wars. With revenue from abundant natural resources, we could tackle poverty, get rid of trident, lead the way in in green energy, explore progressive tax and find economic alternatives to Westminster’s strangle-hold of neo-liberalism. I don’t see independence as a sad ‘separation’ but rather as a positive means to create renewed and healthy relationships with our neighbours and the world. We could create a community where education and creative expression is seen as a fundamental right for every person, not only for the privileged few. It is my dream that our children will have confidence in their own voice, who they are and where they come from: a nation that progressive, inclusive, outward-looking and rich in culture.”
Margaret Stewart, Gaelic singer and folklorist (Source)
“I am not going to make any mind blowing political statement. After spending many years living in countries around the world I still remain convinced that Scotland is one of the best places on earth. I don’t believe being attached to Westminster has made a happy union – it has been in a resentful relationship for hundreds of years, much as we have tried to get on and keep the peace. Well, the time has come to go it alone and walk away. We don’t have to be a world power or one of the G8, or send our children to fight in every power struggle around the globe; that’s a throw-back from colonial days which Westminster insists on keeping us tied in to. There are plenty of little countries that get on perfectly well without being involved in those power struggles, and we can be one of them. We have pride, we have passion, we have riches and culture a-plenty and, heck, we even have our own languages! Like any divorce, it may not be easy at first but we have to think of the years and centuries ahead, and know that to regain our independence, yes regain it, it is one of the greatest gifts we can leave our children and our future generations.”
Marit Falt, musician (Source)
“I am both Swedish and Norwegian – and am proud of being both. Having been brought up on the Norwegian side of the border of these two small, independent nations, I am delighted to live in another small nation on the cusp of the independence. I may not be Scottish, but I have come to call Scotland my home.
There are many benefits of living in a small independent nation. Complete influence over the decision of who rules our country. My vision for Scotland is to have a proportional electoral system which forces consensus in parliament, similar to the Scandinavian model. Scaremongers wax lyrical about the uncertainty of independence. I don’t see it this way. No matter what we vote there is going to be uncertainty. For me the key question is who we want making the decision in our main national political forum. This dilemma wouldn’t enter my mind in Scandinavia. We represent ourselves, and it seems to work very well.
The other aspect of the Better Together argument which confuses me, is their talk about the “abandonment” of England. Sweden and Norway’s separate cultures are flourishing as well as maintaining strong ties. Actually the cultures overlap to the extent that I always shopped in Sweden, all Norwegian children watch Swedish television, and Swedes make up the biggest immigrant group in Norway. This is an easy relationship – building on historical, cultural and family ties. It absolutely is not abandonment. This is working together to help both nations. I hope that Scotland gets the opportunity to build these relationships for herself – in the UK, in the North, in Europe and globally.”
Mary Ann Kennedy, musician, singer, composer and broadcaster (Source)
“Bha luchd-ciùil agus seinneadairean dualchas na h-Alba riamh a’ toirt beachd air an t-saoghal mun cuairt oirnn – cò nas fheàrr ann an Alba an lath’n diugh na a’ choimhearsnachd seo airson ar sluagh a bhrosnachadh gu cnuasachadh air an t-saoghal neo-eismeileach a dh’fhaotadh a bhi romhainn – gu misneachail, fosgailte, dùbhlanach is fiosrach.”
“Traditional musicians and singers have ever been commentators on the world around us – what better community in the modern Scottish landscape to encourage open, positive, fearless and above all well-informed debate on the boundless possibilities that independence offers us all?”
Mark Millar, comic book writer and author of Kick Ass (Source)
“I was torn about independence for a long time, but what finally swayed me was the blank piece of paper it offers us as a nation. As a writer, nothing excites me more than a blank page because the potential is enormous. It’s limitless. Every new sheet of paper could essentially be the biggest moment of our careers and starting a country from scratch has that same almost unquantifiable excitement.
“Think about what we’re being offered here. Think how long it will be before we get another chance. We owe it to our past and we owe it to our futures. This is how Americans must have felt in 1776, but imagine how different their country would be were they still wedded to an ancient and defunct monarchy. Scotland has had a wildly disproportionate impact on the world and we see this today in every industry on the global stage. That said, we’re not without our problems at home and there’s many aspects of the country that need a radical shake-up. Independence would give us a chance to start from scratch and force us to see ourselves – not as the northern region of an out of touch Britain – but an incredible force in our own right. Year zero is coming up and should give us all a chance to do better .”
Martin Compston, actor (Source)
“When I was a wee boy growing up in Greenock, I was very aware of how frustrated the grown ups around me were because our country was ruled by a Conservative government that the people of Scotland had not voted for. Now I am grown up myself and we’re in the same situation all over again.If there’s one great thing to happen in my life it will be the day that I know the future of Scotland and of her people is decided here in Scotland.”
Mick West, traditional singer (Source)
“For me voting yes is a no brainer. I know it could mean leaving our sisters and brothers on what’s left of the UK to the ravages of the ConDems and the last vestiges of a corrupt and self serving British Empire but I hope our New Independent Scotland will be an example of tolerance, compassion fairness and social justice that our neighbours will rush to emulate! I know this may sound lofty and Utopian but if we don’t start with the highest of ideals and expectations and try to deliver them then we fail.”
Mike Small, Bella Caledonia, activist, writer and publisher (Source)
“Voting Yes for independence gives us the chance to never have Tory rule again in Scotland. It gives us the chance to rid our land of Weapons of Mass Destruction. It gives us the chance to decide what our foreign policy priorities are and not be dragged into illegal wars. No other constitutional settlement offers these opportunities. This is a historic chance to gain control of decision-making.”
Mike Vass, fiddler, multi-instrumentalist, performer and composer (Source)
“I support independence for many reasons. A smaller, more focused government will be far better placed to transform education. I believe education to be at the very heart of a successful and thriving country and I feel our current system lets a huge proportion of our citizens down badly. While education is a devolved issue, our inability to raise taxes or change fiscal policy means we don’t have the power we need to invest in education or to address issues of inequality or access. For example, we should be able to provide free music tuition for every single child, or grown-up! We must nourish creativity and feed imaginations.”
Momus (Nick Currie), songwriter, blogger and journalist (Source)
“I identify as a Scot, very much. When I’m in Japan and they ask where I’m from, I always say “Scotland”, not “Britain”. I’d like to see Scotland independent, because we have different politics and a different culture from the English. I wouldn’t like to see it become twee, navel-gazing and trivial, though. I hope an independent Scotland would really respect its artists. I’d like to see a cosmopolitanism, an orientation towards Europe and Asia rather than the States, and a kind of new Scottish Enlightenment like the one we had in the 18th Century.”
Paul Henderson Scott, writer and historian (Source)
“The economist, E.F. Schumacher, in his book Small is Beautiful said that as he studied the economies of the world, he found that most of the most prosperous countries, per head of population, were very small and that many large ones were very poor indeed. He remarks that smallness also had the advantages of ‘convenience, humanity and manageability.”
Pat Kane, Hue & Cry, musician and writer (Source)
“There are many of us for whom Scottish independence will be, among other things, the solid basis of a benign, creative nation.”
Peter Arnott, playwright (Source)
“The Yes campaign has already succeeded in opening an imagined civic space, largely online it must be said, for thinking what might be possible for us in our little northern corner of Europe, should we choose to assert ourselves as ourselves. That sense of possibility and hope, I think, is something to treasure and hold onto if we can. It is also something apart from oil and whisky that we can aspire to export.”
Peter Mullan, actor and filmmaker (Source)
“I will do whatever is required to help promote an independent Scotland.”
Rab Allan, Glasvegas (Source)
“At the moment, Scotland is run by a government that the majority of us did not vote for. Until we have independence we will never live in a fair, democratic society. Every country should have the right to make its own decisions based on its own values. It has been made apparent time and again that our priorities, our needs and our values are not always the same as people living in the rest of the UK. Yes, we are a small country but we have always been a country of pioneers who have led the way in science, engineering and so many other fields, not least music and the arts. We are an intelligent country full of character and determination with wealthy natural resources and are more than capable of shaping our own future. The future that we want, not the future someone else decides we deserve.”
Rachel Sermanni, Scottish folk musician (Source)
“The reason I think ‘Yes’ is curiosity. I’m curious to see what happens. I know enough of history to know that this would be a very pivotal event. I’m not very confident in our Scottish government. They would really need to work for things to work. But I’d be intrigued to see how strong the communities become with a stronger sense of self-reliance and identity. I’d like to see if becoming a smaller ‘company’ brings more focus and understanding, and makes the government’s grounding more human, personal and innovative. Curiosity. That’s it for me.”
Raymond Soltysek, prose and screenwriter (Source)
“I agree with Patrick Harvie when he says it’s not going to be hugely different the day after we vote Yes. We may find ourselves a little poorer (I doubt it) or a little richer (probably more likely), but the sun will not shine brighter, the air will not taste sweeter and birds will not fly in our windows to make our breakfasts. But what I do believe is that a Yes vote will send a message out to the rest of the world, and it’s a message of hope that we don’t have to accept the political, economic and social structures that have been used for so long to make us afraid.”
Ricky Ross, Deacon Blue, singer-songwriter and broadcaster (Source)
“I think you can vote labour and support independence. I don’t think that’s an untenable position.”
RM Hubbert, SAY Award winning musician (Source)
“I’m voting Yes to Scottish independence because I think it will make it a better place to live.”
Robbie Greig, young musician (Source)
“In an independent Scotland, we will have the ability to stay out of unnecessary conflicts, to decide our own governing systems, take full control of our education and health services and many other advantages. Most importantly for me, our musical and cultural identity will take its place on the wider world stage. This can only be a good thing for musicians themselves, for audiences, for tourism and for our self-confidence as a nation”
Robbie Coltrane, actor, comedian and author (Source)
“I’d eventually like to see independence — but only an independent Labour Scotland.”
Robert Florence, presenter, comedian, writer and star of Burnistoun (Source)
“Scottish Independence will happen. Believe it. Because the young urnae feart.”
Rodge Glass, writer (Source)
“I’m that rare thing, an Englishman in Scotland who is pro-Independence.
“I just think that all nations should be independent. I think that if you are a country you should have independence. Also, I don’t have much trust for governments, and so I think that the closer we are to our political idiots, the better (because we are able to throw stones at them!).
“I think it (Scottish independence) would make for a healthier relationship between Scotland and England. This (Scotland) is a very rich cultural space and it deserves the same rights as Sweden and any other country of 5-6 million people.”
Rona Wikie, fiddler (Source)
“For me, independence would be an incredibly exciting prospect for Scotland. As an artist, the cultural opportunities are closest to my heart. As we come together as an autonomous nation, there will be need and desire to define ourselves in new ways. Music, literature, visual arts, drama and dance will be central to this process. Scots and Gaelic will flourish alongside this expansion of the arts. The opportunities are just endless! I can’t wait for it to happen!”
Scott Hutchison, Frightened Rabbit (Source)
“I’m leaning towards Yes. I think it could be a great thing. We have a massive amount going for us.”
Siobhan Wilson, singer-songwriter (Source)
“I’m voting ‘Yes’ because Scotland is in need of change, and it seems like a good one to make.”
Singer Sheena Wellington, Scotland’s leading traditional singer (who reconvened the Scottish Parliament in 1999) (Source)
“Let our three-voiced country
sing in a new world
joining the other rivers without dogma,
but with friendliness to all around her.
Let her new river shine on a day
that is fresh and glittering and contemporary;
Let it be true to itself and to its origins
inventive, original, philosophical,
its institutions mirror its beauty;
then without shame we can esteem ourselves.”
Sigur Ros, Icelandic post-rock band (Source)
“Of course Scotland should be an independent country.”
Simon Neil, Scottish vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of Biffy Clyro (Source)
“The way the world’s going, we may as well give (Scottish Independence) a shot, the time is now. The fucking world is falling apart. Scotland has really good oil money, we’ve got renewable energy, we have ways of moving forward and we’re in a strong position to make it happen.”
Sir Sean Connery, actor (Source)
“I’ve always been hopeful about Scotland’s prospects. And I now believe more than ever that Scotland is within touching distance of achieving independence and equality.”
“I believe we have what it takes to take the third step, and I am convinced it will happen in my lifetime.”
Somhairle MacDonald, designer, illustrator, photographer, musician (Source)
“We have a proud history of inclusion, innovation and creative brilliance in art, music, engineering and science. Our contributions to modernity over the centuries is nothing short of astounding.
Our permissible, welcoming collective persona is legendary the world over, where peoples of alien cultures are embraced for their differences and quickly accepted as honorary Scots.
I see independence not as a withdrawal from the world. I see it as the complete opposite, as an opportunity for Scotland to stridently pursue its own agenda on the world stage, free from the constants of bigotry, social status and the whims of overbearing economic institutions.
I will vote YES in 2014 to maintain values of social justice, fairness and peace, with an upbeat ‘maximum craic’ approach to the future of humanity.”
Sophie Stephenson, ethnologist, musician and step dancer (Source)
“As an ethnologist a good rule is to “dig where you stand”. Where we have such a rich soil of cultural tradition and heritage this is where we should start – with our own culture. I want to see Scottish literature taught in schools, Gaelic offered in schools throughout the Highlands and traditional music as part of the school music curriculum alongside classical music education. Why give children recorders when you can give them penny whistles and chanters instead? Why introduce them to Chaucer, Coleridge or Wordsworth and not to Henryson, Dunbar, MacDiarmid or MacLean?
“Political discourses on nationhood are intrinsically linked to debates on literature, tradition and the representation of our identity. I hope to see a nation confident in ourselves and our own culture. A Scotland which continues to acknowledge our roots, but also looks forward to the future and outward to international links across the globe.”
Stephen Greenhorn, playwright, screenwriter and writer of Sunshine on Leith (Source)
“For me, it’s not about fear, it’s about hope. It’s not about the past, it’s about the future. It’s not about tradition, it’s about ambition. It’s not about wealth, it’s about fairness. It’s not about Salmond or Cameron, it’s about my children and grand-children. In truth, I think it’s about time.
It’s a big question. But it demands a simple answer. I’m voting Yes.”
Steve Byrne, Scots singer and ethnologist (Source)
“I’m not particularly interested in national identities – my own family is Scottish, Irish, English and German. For me, local is everything – local songs, local communities, local democracy. We’re the least democratic nation in Europe below the national level. I believe that communities the world over have the right to have their own local culture heard on the “global jukebox”, shoulder to shoulder alongside the cultures of others – and the same applies to my political views. My entire musical life has been about taking decisions into my own hands, taking chances, sometimes making hard choices, putting my artistic neck on the line, and always striving to do things better, but at the end of the day, having control over my own affairs, taking responsibility for my own mistakes. On a personal level, it’s been a journey to find the confidence and self-belief to sing with my own voice. I feel we all have a right to have our votes count and the current political settlement doesn’t do it for me. I couldn’t possibly continue to sing some of the songs I do – about peace, equality, social justice – and reasonably vote No.”
Stewart Henderson, founder Chemikal Underground Records and The Delgados (Source)
“It’s a chance for us as a nation to reinvent ourselves, to re-image and reaffirm what type of country we want to be. By choosing yes I think we can do two things: we can capitalise on our strengths and we can address our weaknesses.”
Stuart Braithwaite, Mogwai (Source)
“I think people have noticed an improvement since the opening of the parliament but I don’t know if people realise that the next step to independence is not that difficult. So much of the media is controlled from London and makes it seem like a bigger step than it is. Personally, I would love Scotland to be independent.”
Tessa Ransford, founder of the Scottish Poetry Library (Source)
“My twenty years of work for the establishment and development of the Scottish Poetry Library, from 1982 to 2000, made me aware of our subservience to direction and policy from Westminster in Scotland, in the media, in schools, the universities, in our civic institutions, in everything large and small, and, of course, in literature. Existentially I believe in a balance of self-determination and involvement.”
Thomas Walker, tenor (Source)
“For me independence is an important opportunity to create a better and fairer society. It’s about empowerment, equality, and ultimately taking responsibility for the nation in which we live. I am fiercely independent as a person, and in my career I have to be. It’s me on the stage; I have no one else to take responsibility for what I do, and that’s a wonderfully liberating feeling, if a little scary at times. So the notion of being in any union where we have very little real control frustrates me. Unexplored possibilities, missed opportunities, the concept of ‘If only I/We had been brave enough’ infuriates me. This is about growing up, being an adult and taking control of your destiny as best you can. This is the most exciting and important political period Scotland has seen for centuries. It’s an amazing opportunity, and it’s happening in our lifetime, right now. We are so lucky to be able to be a part of it.”
Tim Barrow, playwright, actor and film maker (Source)
“It’s about where we come from, where we are and where we want to be, culturally, politically, financially, socially, it’s all up for grabs. We are part of creating our own national story at this time and in an independent Scotland there will be a whole new set of stories to be told.”
Tom Weir (December 29, 1914 – July 6, 2006), a Scottish climber, author and broadcaster (Source)
“Scotland could easily do it. It has everything. There is no reason why we can’t look after ourselves. I believe we should, but I have never been actively involved in politics.”
* Please get in touch if you have spotted an artist or creative we have missed, or if you would like us to make an amendment to this article.
** It’s really 119 artists and creatives who support Scottish independence, however 100 sounds better.
*** We’ve not included the artists and creatives who have performed at our events but have not written down why they will be voting yes, or those who are contractually obliged not to comment on Scotland’s Referendum.