Scottish independence: Nicola Benedetti undecided

Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti. Picture: Donald Macleod
Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti. Picture: Donald Macleod
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NICOLA Benedetti has become the latest high-profile Scot to duck out of the debate on the country’s future.

The award-winning violinist refused to say whether she was for or against the country going it alone next year.

And the Ayrshire-born musician said she would “probably not” express her opinions in advance and would not even say if she had come to a firm decision on the issue yet.

Her comments have come in the wake of Sir Chris Hoy and Andy Murray sidestepping the independence issue in recent months.

Actors Brian Cox, Alan Cumming and Elaine C Smith are official backers of the Yes Scotland campaign, while other artists have formed their own pro-independence campaign, National Collective.

But last month actor James McAvoy refused to say whether he or not he backed the independence cause, insisting it would be “counter-productive” to his job to express a personal view and said the debate should be left to politicians.

And earlier this year comic Billy Connolly vowed to keep out of the independence debate, insisting it was not for celebrities to tell people how to vote.

Earlier this week Benedetti joined forces with composer James MacMillan to launch a new festival in their native Ayrshire, which will be staged just weeks after next year’s independence poll.

MacMillan, who has also vowed to keep out of the debate, found himself at the centre of controversy in August after criticising the National Collective movement on his Twitter feed, comparing them to “Mussolini’s cheerleaders.”

Benedetti, who was presented with an MBE by the Queen earlier this year, defended the right of artists to express their opinion on the issue.

But she told The Scotsman she was uncertain about going public with her own views.

She added: “Artists have got a platform. If they have bothered to do their research and feel strongly about their opinions they can and should talk about it.

“I don’t think artists are always so much less informed than lots of people that we hear from all the time.

“Me, personally, on this subject, I’m undecided at the moment. Not about it (the debate) but whether I will take part. I’m not saying anything about it at the moment.”

Last month McAvoy said: “I won’t be getting involved at all. It’s just counter-productive to my job, it’s not what I do, and I don’t think it’s helpful to have me involved in it.”

Leading artists in favour of independence include Scotland’s makar Liz Lochhead, singer-songwriter Karine Polwart, playwright David Greig and novelist Alan Bissett.