COMEDIAN Billy Connolly has said he was “conned” into appearing in a Labour Party election broadcast in 1974.
In 2014 Connolly said he could not support a Yes vote and was “deeply suspicious of patriotism” but over the years his stance appears to have softened. In 2018 the comedian wrote Scottish independence “may just be the way to go” to stay in the EU following Brexit, and last year added he “would like” to see an independent Scotland if that’s what the nation wants.
In tonight’s episode Connolly explains his own politics change “daily”, and adds: “I’ve never liked nationalism in any of its guises. I’m not saying I’ve never agreed with independence. I think a Scottish republic is as good an idea as any I ever heard. But I don’t represent anybody, or anything. I don’t think it’s wise to.”
He goes on to explain how Labour convinced him to star in a party-political broadcast during 1974, when Connolly was a rising star with a bestselling album in the shops.
The broadcast sees Connolly sitting in a Glasgow flat talking to somebody off camera. He says: “As far as I’m concerned every other party represents selfishness,” then adds, “basically, it’s fairness I’m looking for.” A slogan reading “Scotland will win with Labour” then appeared.
Connolly said that he “used to be a Labour man” before the incident.
“I was kind of conned into it,” he says in tonight’s programme. “I was asked to come up to a meeting I might find interesting. I went, I didn’t find it interesting, but somebody asked me a question, I answered and I suddenly discovered I was on the [party political broadcast]. So you won’t find me very near political people now.”
He also reflects on meeting a Scottish Labour politician from Anderston, where Connolly was born.
“She started to try to ‘out slum’ me, saying my slum was worse than your slum. That thing Labour politicians do. I find it pathetic,” he said.
Billy and Us airs on BBC Scotland tonight at 10pm.