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Sir Mick Jagger, Stephen Hawking, Dame Judy Dench and Simon Cowell are among 200 people who have signed an open letter from an unofficial No campaign urging Scots to vote against independence at next month’s referendum.
The list of rock stars, actors, comedians, academics and scientists was published on the website of Let’s Stay Together, a London-based group set up by two senior advertising executives, on Thursday.
Comprising well-known names from both sides of the English-Scottish border, entertainers including Sir Bruce Forsyth, Sir Cliff Richard, Ronnie Corbett and Eddie Izzard mingle with highbrow personalities including Mary Beard, Simon Schama and David Starkey on the eclectic list.
“The decision on whether to leave our shared country is, of course, absolutely yours alone. Nevertheless, that decision will have a huge effect on all of us in the rest of the United Kingdom,” said the letter, which was worded by TV historian Dan Snow.
“We want to let you know how very much we value our bonds of citizenship with you, and to express our hope that you will vote to renew them. What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let’s stay together.”
The group registered with the Electoral Commission in July as a participant in the referendum, and has released a video starring One Foot in the Grave actor Richard Wilson and other famous faces holding up handwritten signs saying, “Don’t leave us”. At the end, viewers are urged to call their relatives and friends in Scotland to spread the message.
The group was set up by Andrew McGuinness and Scots-born MT Rainey, who have both founded London-based advertising and PR agencies. The campaign’s approach is in contrast to Better Together, the official No campaign spearheaded by Alistair Darling, the former UK chancellor, which has attracted criticism for focusing on the negatives of independence, rather than the positives of Scotland remaining in the Union.
In response, Kevin Pringle, a senior member of the Scottish National party and Yes campaign member, tweeted: “It’s a great thing to know just how much folk in the rest of UK love #Scotland – and presumably the love will still be there if we #voteYes!”
The Yes campaign meanwhile is backed by many figures from Scottish arts, entertainment and intellectual circles and has attracted some support south of the border, including from singer Billy Bragg and film director Ken Loach.
“If I had the chance to be independent from the Tory-Liberal-New Labour bunch, I’d jump at it. Scotland has the right to hold any referendum it likes,” Mr Loach told The Herald newspaper in 2012. “The English ruling class are such dyed-in-the-wool imperialists that they can’t conceive anything can happen without your approval. But I think: go for it. Other colonised countries have asserted their independence.”
Full list of signatories in alphabetical order:
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