Billy Connolly discusses Parkinson’s and cancer diagnoses
The Scottish comedian spent 50 years entertaining the public before he was forced to retire last year. Sir Billy, who is known as the ‘The Big Yin’, meaning ‘the big one’, announced he couldn’t perform stand-up comedy due to his worsening Parkinson’s disease symptoms. The TV star, 78, largely stays away from discussing politics but on a few occasions made his stance clear on Brexit, Scottish Independence and Labour.
Sir Billy admitted he was cautious about letting the public know what he thought in case it swayed their political opinions.
He once told the BBC News Channel: “I don’t want to influence anybody.”
Sir Billy revealed he didn’t vote in the Scottish Independence referendum and for a long while was against the nation becoming a republic.
But in the wake of Brexit, the comedian believed becoming an independent nation was the “only way” to “keep out contact with Europe”.
Billy Connolly had a clash with an unnamed Labour Party politician over ‘slums’
Billy Connolly spent 50 years entertaining the nation as a comedian and performer
In his 2018 book Made In Scotland, Sir Billy wrote: “Scots voted to stay in Europe (the European Union).
“If the only way for us to do that is to become independent from England that may just be the way to go.
“And I never thought I would say that.”
Sir Billy also revealed he was a staunch Labour supporter for much of his life, because he felt they were a party that “represented a broader idea”.
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However, in recent years he admitted his “politics changed daily” and at the time, he described himself as a “utopian socialist”.
Last year, he told the Daily Record: “I used to be a Labour man as every other party represents selfishness for one or other classes of people.”
Sir Billy claimed his backing for Labour stemmed from “looking for fairness” within a political group.
But after a fiery exchange with one Labour politician in Anderston, where the star was born, his opinions changed.
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He said: “She told me she was born there too and then she started to try to out-slum me.
“[She] was saying, ‘My slum was worse than your slum’ – you know that thing that Labour politicians do.”
Sir Billy was unimpressed with the interaction and stated: “I find it pathetic.”
He claimed that experience and several others led him to believe politics was “boring”.
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Sir Billy moaned: “You read two pages and b******s, who cares?”
His experiences, including with the Labour politician, led him to adopt an entirely different type of belief.
Sir Billy said: “I have become a kind of anarchist.”
He believed the “desire to be a politician should bar you for life from being one”.
Sir Billy said he “always” thought politics was “shoddy” and a “shabby affair” – and he struggled to find a group that represented his views.
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He continued: “I’m a lefty and it comes over in my music and comedy.”
Sir Billy said he was “not a Scottish nationalist” and “not a Tory” – before concluding: “I’m what is left!”
Despite his recent U-turn over Scottish Independence, he previously claimed he did not think it was “wise” and disliked the Scottish Nationalist Party.
He said: “I’ve never liked nationalism in any of its guises.
Billy Connolly previously said he ‘hated all the tartan b******s’ and Scottish nationalism
“I don’t like Scottish nationalism very much, it is based on a loose idea about politics.”
Sir Billy previously described Brexit as a “con-job” and “a disaster” during a 2018 interview with The Times.
He said: “The Brexit vote is a disaster and the breaking up of the togetherness of Europe is a crime bordering on a sin.
“I think the more people are together, not separate, the happier they will be.”