How is it that, when he turns his attention to politics, my favorite actor talks so much nonsense?
It couldn’t be anything but my favorite; after all, Brian Cox and I have a lot in common: we’re both from Dundee: I from a council on the east end of the city, which is as small as the edge on the west end. We’re roughly the same age, though as far as I know we’ve never met.
He’s got plenty of awards to his name, not to mention a CBE, and having played Winston Churchill, King Lear and Hannibal Lecter, to name but three, he’s up there with the rest of the A-list fraternity.
But when he stands up to his countrymen for disagreeing with him on Scottish independence, he spouts the purest arrogant nonsense imaginable.
Also, in a very enjoyable interview session with Nicola Sturgeon this week, Mr Cox let us in on the secret of why he knows so much better than other Scots about the future of his native land. It’s because he doesn’t live there.
He agreed with Ms Sturgeon that he has got a much clearer picture of Scotland than living in the country from homes in New York or London.
Really? Mr Cox may not have noticed thanks to the mountains of rubbish piled up in Edinburgh’s old streets, which unions and opposition politicians say were Ms Sturgeon’s fault.
He has spent the last two weeks driving through these public places in his official limousine, after doing talk show debates.
This week was Cox’s fifth “concert”. And I’d bet he thought he was as great a star as the guy he was interviewing.
Like most Dundonians, I’ve followed Mr Cox’s progress on stage, film and television with something approaching horror – most recently being completely hooked on Logan Roy’s menacing portrayal in Succession.
But the pun on Scotland is nonsense, and of a piece with the views of that other massive star, the late Sir Sean Connery, who was Scotland’s best-known supporter of independence and a regular SNP donor. However, although he did not live in Scotland, he created a very well-endowed educational trust.
In Mr Cox’s case, his words suggest he believes Scots are not cowards for supporting independence. But his supposed intimate knowledge of Scottish life – because he doesn’t live there – seems to have failed him in several areas.
As well as ignoring the rubbish piled up on the street, Ms Sturgeon also doesn’t pay those who are in good shape. Her own children were not educated in Scotland, so she is unlikely to know that Ms Sturgeon has consistently failed to deliver on her pledge to close the achievement gap between rich and poor children. Nor that NHS waiting lists continue to grow on his watch.
Or that Scotland’s island communities suffer from a lack of decent ferries. But then you’d have to live in Scotland to know any of these things.
As you should be aware that most Scots are not in favor of independence, Mr Cox insists the country is now ready for it. So why isn’t it happening? Ah, says Mr Cox, because voters have been conditioned, before adding, with a strong nod from Mrs Sturgeon, that she believed Scotland was now “ripe” for independence.
“I wish the people of Scotland had a bit more confidence,” he said.
Could it be that, with a deficit of £24 trillion, which would have to be met with punitive tax rises and spending cuts after independence, most Scots already have some confidence in staying in the UK.
“My country must be free…” Mr Cox declares as he vows to one day return to Scotland and live there. Free from what, pray? Freedom from the cinema that tries to say what we want would be a start.