J.K. Rowling: Some pro-independence Scots are 'Death Eaterish.'
The author compared the 'more Scottish than thou' fringe of the independence movement with the villains from her Harry Potter series.
Paris — Ditching diplomacy, author J.K. Rowling suggested that the fringe of Scottish nationalism is “a little Death Eaterish,” as she announced “a substantial donation” to keep Scotland part of Great Britain.
The Harry Potter author is the latest star to wade into the battle for Scotland’s future, where residents on Sept. 18 will be asked whether they wish to remain part of the union to which they have belonged for over 300 years. In fact, if Hollywood is often dismissed as a political monolith, Scotland’s actors, writers, and singers are at odds over a vote that has implications across Europe.
The recipients of Ms. Rowling's money, the Better Together group of Scotland, confirmed her $1.67 million donation.
For Harry Potter fans, Rowling's sentiments are anything but subtle. Death Eaters are her fictional band of evil wizards and witches, headed by Lord Voldemort. They seek to purify their community by eliminating those born to human parents. In fact, she directed fans to the fifth paragraph of her explanation, where the reference is made, in laying out the reasons she sides with the camp that wants Scotland within the UK.
Rowling writes that "there is a fringe of nationalists who like to demonise anyone who is not blindly and unquestionably pro-independence and ... they might judge me ‘insufficiently Scottish’ to have a valid view." But she says that "when people try to make this debate about the purity of your lineage, things start getting a little Death Eaterish for my taste." And she adds that "by residence, marriage, and out of gratitude for what this country has given me, my allegiance is wholly to Scotland."
She goes on to explain her rationale for a "yes" vote: “My hesitance at embracing independence has nothing to do with lack of belief in Scotland’s remarkable people or its achievements,” she writes. “The simple truth is that Scotland is subject to the same 21st 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.”
Rowling joins singer Rod Stewart and actor Ewan McGregor, who have also said they don’t agree with independence. "I'm a Scotsman and I love Scotland with all my heart. But I also like the idea of Great Britain, and I don't know that it wouldn't be a terrible shame to break it all up," Mr. McGregor said in March 2012, according to a roundup of celebrity positions on Scotland compiled by Reuters.
They face off against heavyweights like actor Sean Connery, who supports an independent Scotland. "As a Scot and as someone with a lifelong love for both Scotland and the arts, I believe the opportunity of independence is too good to miss," he said in March this year. Author Irvine Welsh, who wrote Trainspotting, is also in this camp, at least in principle. "I'm totally for independence, totally. I think everyone is, even the unionists. It's the process which is being argued about, not the principle,” he said in 2012, according to Reuters.
The referendum is being carefully watched across Britain and the rest of Europe, where other independence movements are simmering. The pro-independence camp, led by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, is lagging in polls, but with a substantial number of undecided voters, it's still a tossup.
Every bit of support – or wizardry name-calling – could make a difference.