Scottish independence: Alan Cumming is right the debate is divisive but so wrong about the need to talk about it even more – John McLellan

Only someone who doesn’t live in Scotland, who isn’t treated to daily invective against the United Kingdom on television, radio and in newspapers, who doesn’t have to listen to the sheer hatred a sizeable proportion of the population have for those who hold their British identity dear, could argue that what we need is more talk about independence.

But that is the view of Perth-born actor Alan Cumming, dropping in for one of his occasional Festival runs from his New York home, telling a Book Festival audience that “it has been so divisive, that I think we’ve stopped wanting to talk about it… I think we need to talk about it a bit more”.

At least the first bit is correct, but having had ten years of independence dominating Scottish political debate, it clearly has not occurred to him that any reluctance is because it quickly descends into rancour and if you want to keep friends of an opposing outlook, then challenging their views is the best way to lose them.

Hide Ad

But Mr Cumming does not want an open discussion to bring people together, but for the pro-independence minority to keep trying to grind their way to a majority, without trying to understand why so many people persistently reject the ruinous prospect of separation.

Read More
Edinburgh tram extension 'at risk of becoming another fiasco' says council sourc...

“We’re so polarised in this country about Scottish referendums that we’ve stopped being able to actually understand what independence means,” he said.

Hide Ad

No, Mr Cumming, we’re polarised because the majority understands very well what it means.

Alan Cumming said he was 'really sad' the country had become so 'polarised' that the meaning of independence had been forgotten (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)