J.K. Rowling Voices Opinion on Scottish IndependenceBy: Brian Powell - June 11, 2014
The debate over whether or not Scotland should separate from England and become its own, independent, sovereign nation has been waging for quite some time now. The discussion will finally come to an end on September 8, when Scots 16 years and older will vote in the referendum. Before that time comes, though, both sides of the argument have much work to do in order to convince their constituents to vote for the right side. Unfortunately for the No movement, the Yes campaign may have just acquired the last piece of the all-powerful Deathly Hallows with the celebrity endorsement to end all celebrity endorsements.
J.K. Rowling, author of the immensely popular Harry Potter series, has pledged a donation of $1.68 million (or 1 million pounds) to the Better Together campaign, a group pushing for the people of Scotland to stand together with the United Kingdom and vote No in the referendum.
— Better Together (@UK_Together) June 11, 2014
Rather than simply give a substantial sum of money to her side of choice, Rowling went one step further and justified her position through a blog on her official website.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 11, 2014
While Rowling insists that she is Scottish through and through, stating, “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,” she had serious doubts as to whether or not Scotland can continue to exist as it does now if it decides to break its 300 year tie with Great Britain.
Rowling’s main skepticism comes through economic worries:
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 twenty-first 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.
In particular, Rowling worries that Scotland will not be able to continue to fund its universities and hospitals, to which Rowling has donated much money to fund the research of multiple sclerosis, an affliction her mother died from: “My fears about the economy extend into an area in which I have a very personal interest: Scottish medical research. Having put a large amount of money into Multiple Sclerosis research here, I was worried to see an open letter from all five of Scotland’s medical schools expressing ‘grave concerns’ that independence could jeopardise what is currently Scotland’s world-class performance in this area.”
The most recent polls show that the No campaign has more support with 42 percent of the people planning to vote against independence in the September referendum. The Yes campaign trails the No movement by 12 percentage points, a margin which has held consistent over the past few months.
In her blog, Rowling did not spare her opposition, likening them to the main villains in her Harry Potter novels:
However, I also know that there is a fringe of nationalists who like to demonise anyone who is not blindly and unquestionably pro-independence and I suspect, notwithstanding the fact that I’ve lived in Scotland for twenty-one years and plan to remain here for the rest of my life, that they might judge me ‘insufficiently Scottish’ to have a valid view… 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’s views were met with extreme opposition and vitriolic behavior on Twitter, with one Scottish charity resorting to ad hominem attacks against the writer:
— The Dignity Project (@DignityProject) June 11, 2014
It is quite evident from the discussion Rowling’s contribution has sparked that the debate for Scottish independence is far from over. Whatever the outcome, however, Rowling simply wishes that there are no regrets: “Whatever the outcome of the referendum on 18th September, it will be a historic moment for Scotland. I just hope with all my heart that we never have cause to look back and feel that we made a historically bad mistake.”
Image via YouTube