Alan Cumming says he took No vote personally

Alan Cumming takes a selfie at the Yes office in September. Picture: Robert Perry
Alan Cumming takes a selfie at the Yes office in September. Picture: Robert Perry
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HOLLYWOOD star Alan Cumming has spoken of his devastation at the rejection of Scottish independence in this year’s historic referendum - saying he took the result personally.

The Aberfeldy-born actor, who currently lives in New York, said he believed a fear factor and a promise of extra powers in the event of a “No” vote were the key elements which swung the vote in the final few days before the poll.

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Cumming, who helped launch the official “Yes” campaign and visited Glasgow to join Nicola Sturgeon on the campaign trail in September, was one of the most high-profile cultural figures to argue in favour of independence.

However his hopes of being able to vote in the historic poll were dashed when it emerged that he was ruled out as he was not permanently resident in Scotland - despite buying a flat in Edinburgh.

Cumming, who is currently appearing in Cabaret on Broadway, told The Scotsman that he was “incredibly proud” to come from a country where 86 per cent of the population had turned out to vote.

He said: “It was absolutely miraculous. The level of political engagement was, and still is, perhaps even more so, really inspiring and moving to me. It’s a great source of pride to me that that happened.

“Obviously I wanted ‘Yes’ to win. I was f****** devastated (at the result). I took it on a very personal level.

“i feel that ideas of self-determination and fighting against the idea that the Establishment will always win and tell you what to do...they are big things in my life and my career, and in my just being a human being.

“I hope there will be another chance. It is a very exciting time right now, with Nicola Sturgeon taking over (as SNP leader and First Minister). It is a journey. Another referendum is entirely possible, especially with the way things are going in England.

“If we have a referendum on the EU and England votes to leave and Scotland votes to stay that will be a constitutional crisis entirely worthy of another referendum.

“The biggest message that I took from the referendum was that fear tactics can win. The more people are exposed to the idea (of independence) the more they get comfortable with it, they won’t be fearful any more.

“What swung the vote in the end were the promises of devo max. I think the fear factor had a lot to do with it, but the devo max promises are what swung it over.

“Those promises have obviously been reneged on. It is all now dependent on a Westminster parliament voting for it. These carrots have been dangled, but we’re only going to get them if the people in Westminster decide we’re worthy of them - and guess what? They’re not going to.

“It has been a salutary lesson for those people who were on the fence. I just wish it had gone the other way.”

Nicola Sturgeon was hoping to be reunited with Cumming earlier this month at the unveiling of a new painting of the actor at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, but was unable to attend due to a diary clash.

However she told The Scotsman: “Everybody understands that celebrities are only so influential in persuading people how to vote.

“But Alan certainly brought some star quality to the campaign. His support for Scotland, and his support for independence, I think speaks very highly of him.

“He is somebody whose work takes him away from Scotland, but he is still totally committed to the country, he is a great guy and also an absolute star.

“Of course, he had every right to get involved in the campaign. We saw politicians in the UK government who don’t live in Scotland come up here to campaign, they had every right to do that.

“It is past now, but it was a fantastic flourishing of democracy and everybody had the right to have a say. Alan came here, had his say and I was delighted to be with him when he did so.”

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