The former Bishop of Edinburgh Richard Holloway and celebrated crime writer Val McDermid have both announced they will be backing a Yes vote in September’s independence referendum.
Bishop Holloway, the former Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and BBC broadcaster, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
The former Chair of the Scottish Arts Council is critical of the No campaign’s negativity, and cites the ‘broken’ UK political system that led to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as one of his reasons for backing Yes.
Bishop Holloway, the Chair of Sistema Scotland, a charity that brought together children from Stirling’s Raploch area with members of the renowned Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra from Venezeula, said: “Rather than making a positive case for the union, the Better Together campaign has wasted its energy on attacking the idea that Scotland could go it alone, a tactic guaranteed to anger those of us for whom the question was never whether we could but whether we should.
“And there has been little recognition on the unionist side that the British political system is broken. The major factor in my own mistrust is outrage at the wars we have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan for no valid moral purpose.
“I am ready to forgive politicians for getting economics wrong, but never for taking us into costly and unnecessary wars. Over-centralised Britain concentrates power in ways that are hard to challenge.”
Val McDermid from Kirkcaldy, best known for the Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan and Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series of novels, highlighted the marked difference in policies flowing from Holyrood compared to Westminster.
Echoing the comments from Richard Holloway, she criticised the negativity of the No side, calling it a ‘major plank’ of the campaign.
Ms McDermid, an avid Raith Rovers fan whose Hill/Jordan series was adapted for the television programme Wire in the Blood, starring Robson Green, said:
“The only basis I could find for making a choice is to look at the track record of what the Scottish Parliament has done differently from Westminster since we’ve had some power restored to us.
“And, overwhelmingly, I prefer what we’ve done north of the border – free prescriptions, no student tuition fees, social care for elderly people. So, with a degree of trepidation, I’m going to nail my colours to the mast of aspiration and vote “Yes”.
“When you realise you’re in a relationship in which the two of you want different things, where your hopes and dreams are taking you in different directions, you don’t hesitate because you’re not sure what you’re going to get in the divorce settlement; you make the decision and then you sort things out afterwards.
“We shouldn’t be held back because of the fear that seems to be the major plank of the Better Together campaign.”
Scotland’s national poet – Liz Lochhead, celebrated journalist and author Neal Ascherson, playwright, author and artist Alasdair Gray, and poets Kathleen Jamie, Robert Crawford and John Glenday are some of Yes Scotland’s many other literary supporters.
Chief Executive of Yes Scotland Blair Jenkins said: “The Yes campaign is thriving on the ground and in the polls, and it is fantastic that such highly respected people as Val McDermid and Richard Holloway are joining the growing number of people declaring for Yes.”