50 Artists & Creatives Who Support Scottish Independence

National Collective’s Ross Colquhoun was challenged by a Unionist friend to name 20 artists and creatives who support independence – he managed to name 50. This is the list.

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 (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.”

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.”

Alisdair Gray // Acclaimed Scottish writer and artist (Source)

“Self-rule would would end the infantilising effect of Westminster rule. It would make us grow up.”

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.”

Blair Jenkins // Former Head of News and Current Affairs at BBC and STV (Source)

“I choose an independent Scotland because I believe it will energise us and inspire us to build a better society. An independent Scotland will be a country where we all get to pursue our own individual dreams and ambitions and hopes, but it will also be a country where we look out for one another.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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 agressive.”

Edwin Morgan (1920-2010) // National poet 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.”

Frankie Boyle // Comedian and writer (Source)

“It’s an ‘aye’ (for Independence) from me, man.”

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.”

Iain Banks // 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.”

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.”

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?”

John Byrne // Playwright and artist (Source)

“I agree that we should have tax breaks for artists in Scotland. They have been a huge success in Ireland. That was the start of it all. It seemed to signal a different mindset within the Irish government. I believe Scotland should be autonomous. It should be a independent nation.”

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.”

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.”

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 though elections – rather than deferring back to London. This is normalisation. It is why we’re involved in the Yes campaign.”

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.”

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.”

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 and former professional footballer (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.”

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.”

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 Mullan // Actor and filmmaker (Source)

“I will do whatever is required to help promote an independent Scotland.”

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.”

Robbie Coltrane // Actor, comedian and author (Source)

“I’d eventually like to see independence — but only an independent Labour Scotland.”

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.”

The first step towards achieving this was winning Scotland right to a separate parliament in 1997 and the second was electing an SNP Government last year, the actor says.

“I believe we have what it takes to take the third step, and I am convinced it will happen in my lifetime.”

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.”

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.”

Admittedly, there are actually 52 artists and creatives that we have identified as supporting independence – but it just wouldn’t have had the same ring to it.

By no means is this a definitive list – please leave a comment with an other artists or creatives that you know support Scottish independence.

Andrew Barr and Ross Colquhoun
National Collective