Connery, Bowie take sides on Scottish independence, Murray keeps mum

Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:00pm EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - Celebrities plunging into the debate on Scottish independence risk attracting public wrath from opposing sides in the run-up to the September 18 referendum. Some, like tennis star Andy Murray, have opted to keep quiet.

James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery, a long-time Scottish nationalist, advocates breaking the 307-year tie with England, supporting separatists' arguments that oil-rich Scotland can be a prosperous, independent nation.

English singer David Bowie, who lives in New York, has urged Scots not to break away, endorsing Prime Minister David Cameron's view that the United Kingdom is strongest together.

But Murray has kept out of the increasingly heated debate, saying at the weekend that he had been previously roasted for a comments seen as representing a political view.

Murray, who became the first Briton in 77 years to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon last year, drew criticism before the 2006 World Cup when he said he'd support anyone but England, a remark he has said many times since was not serious.

"I wouldn't personally choose to make my feelings on something like that public either, because not a whole lot of good comes from it," said Murray, adding his view was irrelevant as one of 1.15 million expatriate Scots not eligible to vote.

"I've made that mistake in the past and it's caused me a headache for ... eight years of my life and a lot of abuse."

Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, 71, has said he won't vote, calling the debate "a morass that I care not to dip my toe into".   Continued...

Actor Sean Connery awaits the start of the U.S. Open men's final match between Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Britain's Andy Murray in New York, September 10, 2012. REUTERS/Adam Hunger