J.K. Rowling Just Made a Big Splash in the World of Muggle Politics
Harry Potter wizarding aside, J.K. Rowling has stepped into the complicated world of Muggle politics and lobbying.
As a resident of Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, the author has announced her slant against Scottish independence with the donation of 1 million pounds ($1.68 million) to the organization Better Together. A Sept. 18 referendum would grant Scotland full independence from the United Kingdom after 300 years.
Rowling has thrown her support behind the campaign, likening some supporters of Scottish independence to the Death Eaters in her famous series, a group of wizards and witches in the Harry Potter series, who felt that they were superior thanks to their "pure blood."
Rowling sees an independent Scotland as further economic downturn in a globalized world, where Scotland already suffers from a deficit. As stated on Rowlings's website. "My hesitance at embracing independence has nothing to do with lack of belief in Scotland's remarkable people or its achievements. The simple truth is that Scotland is subject to the same 21st-century pressures as the rest of the world."
"It must compete in the same global markets, defend itself from the same threats and navigate what still feels like a fragile economic recovery. The more I listen to the Yes Campaign, the more I worry about its minimisation and even denial of risks."
The Harry Potter author instead supports the anti-independence Better Together campaign run by Alistair Darling, Scotland's former labor chancellor.
So what does this mean for the many young people in Scotland some of which grew up on Harry Potter? Even 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds are able to vote in the referendum – not the case previously. This could lead to a high turnout in the young population.
The Guardian's Bella Bathurst spoke to young activists, who have mixed opinions. One young pro-independence activist, Roisin McLaren says, "I don't like the fact that we can be taken into illegal wars when every one of our politicians voted against it. I don't like the way Britain portrays itself on the world stage. I think an independent Scotland would be a lot more peaceable and reasonable. I'd like to reform local authorities – they're too big, so we don't have local engagement. We spend too much on the army."
Bathurst reflects that "It seems it isn't so much that the yes camp is running a good campaign as that the no camp is running a bad one."
Independence from the U.K. actually would not have an immediate impact on university tuition fees, according to the Yes Campaign website, which states "Whether or not Scotland continues with the policy of free tuition will depend on who is elected to form the Scottish Government at the elections scheduled for May 2016."
The Yes Campaign led by the Scottish National party under first minister Alex Salmond has gained backing from various political groups, including the Labor for Independence. It has also gained the support of Hollywood actor Sean Connery, who explained his stance to the New Statesman: "as a Scot and as someone with a lifelong love for both Scotland and the arts, I believe the opportunity of indepdence is too good to miss."
Scotland seems to be divided over the vote – we'll find out in September if Rowling or Connery will help sway the vote.