by Rona Mackay
Scottish Motor racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart and Trainspotting and Gray’s Anatomy Star Kevin McKidd are the latest prominent Scots to give their backing to the SNP.
With the SNP campaign encouraging voters to give both votes to the SNP to re-elect Alex Salmond as First Minister and deliver a five-year council tax freeze, Sir Jackie Stewart has heaped praise on First Minister Alex Salmond and his cabinet colleagues, saying the help they have provided him with has been “first-class.”
The three-times world champion, who now travels the world as an ambassador for sport and for Scotland, has partnered with the Scottish Government over the past few years as part of his campaign to combat dyslexia.
Sir Jackie said: “I decided decades ago not to give my support to any particular party, I don’t give them financial support and I don’t vote.
“I don’t mind saying in support of Alex that without his help I could not have done nearly as much and he has been very loyal to me in that respect. He returns phone calls promptly and that’s usually one of my first indicators. The people who don’t are never the most successful. The most important people, who are really busy, return them promptly.”
The Formula One star’s dealings with the Scottish Government have centred around his work as President of Dyslexia Scotland.
He believes the current First Minister and his team have helped to make Scotland a world leader in dealing with the condition. Sir Jackie added: “Alex has been of considerable help to me and to dyslexics and all the Scots with learning difficulties. That applies also to Fiona Hyslop, who was the original Education Minister in his government, and with Michael Russell, who took her place.
“And the Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, helped me to gain access to the governor and staff at Saughton Prison. Without the help of them all, Dyslexia Scotland, and I as its President, could not have had the success we have achieved.”
Actor Kevin McKidd, who rose to fame in Trainspotting and now stars in the hit show Gray’s Anatomy also backed Alex Salmond and the SNP.
McKidd, who grew up in Elgin and has supported the Save RAF Lossiemouth campaign, added: “Growing up in Elgin I was very involved with the Moray Youth Theatre and the Bedlam Theatre in Edinburgh where I went to university. Grassroots theatre is so important to Scotland’s local and national culture and creativity, and I have been impressed by the SNP’s commitment to this principle.
“I would love to make more films made in Scotland. That’s why I agree with the SNP’s commitment to encourage up-and-coming film-makers in Scotland by introducing a Scottish tropfest as well as the Investor Night for our film festivals to attract inward investment.
“I also look forward to getting involved in the international network of Scots in the arts sector to promote Scottish culture. Scotland punches above its weight in terms of cultural creativity and I think Alex Salmond is committed to ensuring a successful creative sector for the benefit of Scotland and its economy. I therefore wish the SNP team led by Alex Salmond every success in their pursuit for re-election in May.”
Welcoming both endorsements, Alex Salmond said: “It has been an honour to work with Sir Jackie Stewart and to help him raise the profile and improve services for dyslexia sufferers. His kind words reflect the commitment of the SNP team to his campaign.
“My priority if re-elected this week is to grow Scotland’s economy, and the creative sector plays a key role in this as a high-growth sector providing jobs for our creative and talented Scots. I am delighted that Kevin McKidd is supporting the SNP’s policy platform, he is a credit to Scotland and a true star.
“With polls open in less than 24 hours the numbers of people from across the political, cultural, job creation and sporting spectrum supporting the SNP, our record, our team and our vision is continuing to grow. To re-elect an SNP Government and freeze the council tax for five years it has to be both votes SNP.”