Billy Connolly discusses Parkinson’s and cancer diagnoses
The Scottish entertainer, 78, savoured 60 years as a stand-up comedian before announcing his retirement last year. He said symptoms of Parkinson’s disease prevented him from being able to “think as sharply” as he needed to perform. Sir Billy, who was knighted four years ago, has often stayed away from politics, believing he could influence people, but weighed in on Brexit a number of times.
Sir Billy referred to the nation’s decision to leave the EU as a “disaster” and thought “breaking up” the bloc was “a crime bordering on a sin”.
After previously stating he would not vote in the Scottish independence referendum nor make his opinions known, he supported the SNP’s calls.
In the BBC Scotland documentary Billy and Us last year, he said: “I think a Scottish republic is as good an idea as any I’ve ever heard.”
Sir Billy was surprised he became a supporter of Scottish independence because he considered himself an “Anglophile”.
Billy Connolly slammed Prime Minister as a ‘f***ing softboy’ during an anti-Brexit rant
Billy Connolly has often been against Scottish Independence but in Brexit’s wake supported it
In his 2018 book Made In Scotland, he wrote: “I never thought I would say that.”
The comedian confessed he didn’t “trust nationalism in any of its guises”.
However, in the wake of Brexit – where 1.6 million people, 62 percent of the nation, voted Remain – Sir Billy felt Scottish independence was the right move.
Sir Billy said: “The most important thing for Scotland is to keep our contact with Europe.
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“If the only way for us to do that is to become independent from England, that may just be the way to go.”
The comedian previously tempered his remarks about becoming a republic by stating: “I didn’t think it was wise to.”
Sir Billy added: “As an Anglophile, I’ve never shouted for independence but I might be changing my mind now.”
In a 2018 Daily Record interview, where Sir Billy called Brexit a “crime”, he said: “I think the more people are together, not separate, the happier they will be.”
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He felt Brexit would lead to Scottish independence because the majority of the nation voted Remain.
In the 2016 EU referendum, 52 percent of the UK voted Leave and more than 46.5 million people cast their ballot.
England and Wales overwhelmingly voted for Brexit, by 53.4 percent and 52.5 percent respectively.
Scotland and Northern Ireland voted Remain by 62 percent and 55.8 percent.
Billy Connolly described himself as an ‘Anglophile’ and was against Scottish Independence for years
In 2019, when Sir Billy was asked whether he was interested in US politics, he said: “We kept away from all that madness.”
However, he took a firm swipe at Prime Minister Boris Johnson during an interview with The Observer.
Sir Billy said: “Talk about Trump, though, look who you’ve got now over here!”
He then referred to Mr Johnson as a “f***ing soft boy”.
Sir Billy reportedly said he was “relieved” to be “a few thousand miles away from Brexit”.
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He continued: “What a con! And the Prime Minister was the biggest con of all.”
Sir Billy was concerned about the decision to vote to leave the EU because he felt the public didn’t understand it.
His beliefs stemmed from watching people in south Wales being interviewed on a US TV channel.
Sir Billy noted: “How pleased they were to have voted out of Europe.”
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However, he claimed the interviewees seemed a little uneasy after they were told about the benefits of the EU.
Sir Billy recalled: “Then they showed all the things that the EU had funded in their town.”
He said the individuals “had no idea” about the money pumped into their local area and called it “completely nuts”.
Sir Billy’s concerns over Brexit led him to support calls for Scottish independence.
When asked if being a republic was a good idea last year, he told Herald Scotland: “If Scotland would like it, I would like it.”