Makar Liz Lochhead voices pro-independence preference


Scotland’s national poet, the Makar Liz Lochhead, supports independence for Scotland.

Playwright and poet, Ms Lochhead, said she would vote yes for independence in a referendum if it were held tomorrow, but is not a member of the SNP.

Ms Lochhead said: “I’m not an SNP member, myself – have never joined any political party, barring a brief spell in the 1970s as a member of the Labour Party (don’t laugh at me) – but if there was a referendum tomorrow, I’d vote yes. I don’t see why Scotland and England can’t remain friendly co-operative equals. Other countries in the world have dissolved uncomfortable unions.”

Ms Lochhead was made the Makar in January 2011 – she is famous for her plays, including Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off and her Moliere adaptations.

Her friend and predecessor, the first Makar, the late Edwin Morgan left nearly £1m to the SNP in his will.

Ms Lochhead has written a new play called Edwin Morgan’s Dreams – and Other Nightmares, was surprised by his sizeable donation to the SNP.

“I thought, wow. He wasn’t a member of the SNP. He stated once that he never wanted to join any party. He always wanted an independent Scotland but he was critical of the party in the past, so I can only guess he felt a wee wave of optimism at the end there.”

Liz Lochead was chosen as the Makar by the First Minister of Scotland – Alex Salmond and his two Labour predecessors Jack McConnell and Henry McLeish.

Other Scottish writers share Ms Lochead’s view.  Prior to the SNP’s May 5th landslide victory,  Iain Banks, the novelist, and the playwright David Greig also voiced their support for an independent Scotland, and Janice Galloway wrote that if the SNP steers the right political course then the “risk of secession will be worth taking”.

Lochhead says, although her plays are acclaimed in Scotland, she had difficulty staging them in England.

“There are people involved in the theatre down south who think anything too strongly Scottish is provincial.”

She added that the National Theatre in London thought Mary Queen of Scots was a wonderful piece but “far too Scottish for us”.

“At the same time, I’ve had various eastern European countries do a few of my plays. So, who’s provincial?”