Brian Cox: Scots lack the confidence to vote for independence

Actor Brian Cox has told Nicola Sturgeon that Scots are lacking the confidence for the country to become an independent nation.

In an Edinburgh International Book Festival interview, the Succession star said his home country "had never been more ripe” for independence.

But the Dundee-born stage and screen star said he wished the people of Scotland had more confidence in the idea of the country being “free”.

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Brian Cox was in conversation with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Cox, who revealed he was considering move back to Scotland from the United States, suggested “conditioning” was to blame for Scots lacking enough confidence.

The First Minister, who has been criticised for the number of festival appearances she has made this month, asked Cox to explain his support for independence, having previously backed the Labour Party under Tony Blair.

Ms Sturgeon said: “When I was first aware of you as someone with politics you were, back in 1997, a New Labour luvvie at the time.

“Of course, like many people in Scotland, or from Scotland, you have made the journey to now being sensible and an SNP supporter. Do you want to tell us about that journey and what made you make that shift?"

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and actor Brian Cox were in conversation at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Cox said: “If you think about it, the Labour Party started here in Scotland.

"After all those years of Thatcher and the horror of that, I did the voice of Labour for 1997. I was very passionate about them.

"I am ostensibly a socialist, so I was really pleased to be part of that and we got the biggest majority ever. But then we systematically blew it, big time.

"Then finally, Iraq was the thing that really did me in. I thought Tony Blair’s hubris over Iraq was awful and the million march was kind of ignored. I thought there was something amiss.

"When the independence referendum was looming in 2014, I realised that social democracy was missing.

“The only place it seemed to be present was back in my home country.

"So I thought ‘I've got to go. I've got to shift. I can't hang around with this anymore, because we’re on a hiding to nothing’. It's always going to be the same stopping game, endlessly.

"My country has to be free. We have to be free. We have to be our own person, because it's become so obvious, anybody who comes here sees the difference between the north and south, it's so evident.

“Scotland has never been more ripe for it. The only thing is, I just wish the people of Scotland would have a bit more confidence. That’s the thing that really gets me.

"I think it's through conditioning that we haven't got that confidence. Once we've got that confidence, we will all agree because you just look at this bunch of, I won't say it, this bunch that we’ve just been through.

“This is where we should be. We should have our own country and it should happen now. It shouldn't be about personalities. It should be about country first, not politics.

“Everybody I know, they love this country. I love it. I love coming back here all the time and, eventually, I might find a place to stay.

"I’ve lived 76 years. I came to the party rather late, but I’m so happy I’m at the party now before it’s too late.”

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