VETERAN broadcaster Jon Snow has said he would be “sorry to lose Scotland” if it became independent.
Speaking ahead of a public lecture in Glasgow with First Minister Alex Salmond, Mr Snow said he fears he will have to apply for a visa to visit Scottish friends.
He said Mr Salmond has evolved over the years from a “not very spectacular politician” to an accomplished leader.
“He is an accomplished politician, without question,” he said.
“He used to be a Westminster politician, and not a very spectacular one but he’s a different guy now.
“I think there has been a change. After all he was one of a small number of SNP MPs at Westminster and now he leads a government.”
He added: “I’m not a nationalist, but I’m open to persuasion one way or another. I would be sorry to lose Scotland. A lot of my friends are Scottish.
“I come up here and I don’t want to have to get a visa.
“Independence is a fantastically raked over subject in Scotland, but in London it’s hardly ever talked about.”
The Channel 4 newsreader also said he is uncertain what the publicly owned broadcaster’s role would be in an independent Scotland.
Mr Salmond has said he would like a larger share of the BBC licence fee under independence to create more Scottish content, but the fate of Channel 4 is unknown.
Mr Snow said: “Of the many questions one wants to know up here that is one of them, and I have no idea.
“It would be a bit self interested of me to ask though, there are bigger questions.”
During the lecture, Mr Snow raised recent comments by former US president Bill Clinton about “identity politics”, when he asked: “Can we find a way to appreciate what is separate and unique about us and still think what we have in common matters more?”
Mr Salmond said those with a Scottish identity do not “necessarily need to have an independent country” to express it.
“I have a lot in common with a range of other people and nationalities,” he said.
“I’ve got loads in common with Bill Clinton but there’s nothing small minded or negative about having a Scottish identity, a European identity, an international identity.
“That’s a perfectly valid, open minded way of looking at the world.
“There’s nothing invalid about having an English identity, a European identity and international identity.
“For Bill Clinton there’s nothing invalid about having an American identity and international identity.
“There’s nothing wrong with feeling British either. We’ve got people in this city who have an Irish identity and Scottish identity, or a Kashmiri or Pakistani identity and a Scottish identity, people with an English identity and a Scottish identity.
“One of the most likeable features about Scotland at its best, and we’re not always at our best, is that a Scottish identity is a non-exclusive identity.”
He added: “The idea that you have to choose your identity, an English or British identity to the exclusion of other identities, it doesn’t work like that in the modern world.
“I’m arguing that a Scottish identity is a perfectly valid identity to have, there’s nothing small minded or to be ashamed about.
“It doesn’t necessarily need to have an independent country, but I think it is best expressed through an independent country because people’s identity and feelings are often expressed through the field of politics.”