A lot of folk who support independence don’t much care for JK Rowling. She’s important to the independence movement, though. More because of her normal-ness than her uniqueness.
Her true life story is a fairy tale. It inspires people. She’s tried to make difference to the lives of others by giving a large chunk of her fortune to things she believes will produce benefits for those who need it most. People who know her a bit say she’s smart, remarkably unaffected and down to earth. She’s strident with her views, and she’s pretty consistent. An awful lot of people admire her for all of these things. She’s not like them but she very much is. You can get angry with her if you want, but if you say she’s a bad person or someone who should be ignored then most Scots will beg to differ.
But she has a problem. And it’s the same problem a lot of regular Scots who care about the people around them and broadly liked the way the Labour Party was once upon a time have. It’s this: She’s always been against independence. She thinks the Labour Party has gone absent without leave. She thinks the Lib Dems and Greens are of marginal importance. Yet these three things are subordinate to a fourth: her instinctual and visceral loathing of the Tories. Above all, she believes that a Tory ascendancy will be a disaster for regular people everywhere.
So where does that leave her? Something has to give, right? She isn’t going to shrink into her bat-cave (I don’t think she’s ever bothered to build one). She’s going to try to work it all out. For the most part, she has this in common with hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland today.
Such folk will never support a Tory regime led from London with only England in mind; “a UK”, as the Sunday Herald’s Iain Macwhirter put it this week: “dominated by right-wing anti-Europeans obsessed with immigration and deluded by echoes of empire”. They can see that Labour is going to be powerless to change things for Scots for much, much longer than it takes the Tories to strip us our our EU citizenships. This all goes for Corbyn opponents and supporters alike.
Some, maybe even JK Rowling herself, will convince themselves it’s worth the pain of the years ahead to be able to hope for something better in future. They’ll vote with their hearts and withdraw from the daily cut and thrust. But a lot of others won’t. They’ll be outraged that the cheery Scottish mask on the face of a right-wing Tory UK ascendancy is “Scotland’s most popular politician” (para 4 and graphic above). They’ll realise that what’s in their hearts has become a never-neverland they’ll never get to visit. Then they’ll re-imgaine Scotland’s future and choose social democracy in an independent Scotland over Tory ascendancy.
JK Rowling is the folk whose support will move Scotland from No to Yes.