The man who persuaded 007 Sean Connery to become a member of the SNP
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But retired Edinburgh publisher Gordon Wright says it wasn’t a cheap stunt, but a happy coincidence – 007 just happened to be the next available serial number in the SNP’s membership book.
Sean Connery’s support of the SNP is legendary, but it wasn’t until a chat with Gordon in January 1992 that the Fountainbridge-born actor filled out all the official forms.
Mr Wright, 78, who has been a card-holding member of the Scottish National Party since 1960, said he struck up a close friendship with Sean after sending the Hollywood icon a book on Scotland’s history and to thank him for supporting the nationalist movement.
The pair met up for a drink when Sean was in town and spoke over the phone regularly to discuss the latest goings on in Scottish politics.
One day, Gordon asked Sean if he was a member of the SNP. To his surprise, Sean answered in the negative.
Mr Wright explains: “We were blethering over the phone and I asked him if he was an SNP member. ‘Nobody's ever asked me,' he replied.”
After Sean’s movie career took off, he had purchased a ground floor property for his parents at West Savile Terrace in Newington. Gordon, who also lived in Newington, suggested the Oscar winner join up at the local SNP branch since he had that family connection. He agreed.
Mr Wright said: "Sean said ‘okay’, so I faxed him through a membership form and he just signed it and sent it back. He was signed up that day and that was that."
Incredibly, the serial number on Sean’s membership card was 007 – matching the agent designation of James Bond, the role for which Connery is most famous.
Mr Wright said: "I phoned Mairi Stewart, our membership secretary who couldn’t quite take it in at first. When she was finally convinced that I wasn’t kidding she made out the membership card.
"When I called at Mairi’s house to collect it, she pointed to the printed serial number on the card which was 007 – quite a coincidence.’”
The news that Scotland’s most famous son had officially joined the SNP caused a media frenzy and Gordon bore the brunt of it in the following days due to his address appearing on the membership form.
He said: “It sort of set the heather alight and the phone was ringing non-stop after that.
“I was very grateful when the excitement died down.”
Sean Connery was a vocal advocate of the SNP and for Scottish independence for decades and regularly spoke publicly on Scottish political matters.
This often led to criticism of the movie legend, with some adamant Sir Sean, who spent the last years of his life in the Bahamas with wife Micheline, should not have a say in Scotland’s future. Gordon heartily disagrees.
Mr Wright adds: "Like Sean once said, Scotland is his birthright and he had every right to comment on what’s happening there.
"Where you live is usually either your idea or your wife’s idea. Maybe his wife, who is from Morocco I think, needed the heat and didn’t want to live in Edinburgh.”