* Connery sees independence boosting artistic creation
* Actor joins other high-profile stars in Scotland debate
LONDON, March 3 Former James Bond actor Sean
Connery has said an independent Scotland is an opportunity "too
good to miss" and ending the union with England would help boost
artistic creation north of their common border.
The Scottish-born star, 83, spoke out six months before a
referendum that could split the United Kingdom. A long-term
supporter of separation, the Bahamas resident has said he could
return to his native land if it became independent.
He was the latest in a number of high-profile stars recently
entering the independence debate. Last month, rock star David
Bowie said "Scotland, stay with us" in a message read out by
model Kate Moss at the Brit pop music awards.
"As a Scot and as someone with a lifelong love for both
Scotland and the arts, I believe the opportunity of independence
is too good to miss," Connery wrote in an article due to be
published on the New Statesman website on Tuesday.
"Simply put - there is no more creative an act than creating
a new nation," he said. The referendum on whether to end the
307-year union with England will be held on Sept. 18.
Connery, who conceded that independence was a matter for the
people who live and work in Scotland, argued that a "yes"
verdict would boost that country's film and creative industries.
"Scotland has an opportunity to make a step change," he
wrote. "More than anything else, culture defines a country. It
provides international visibility and stimulates global interest
more than a nation's politics, business or economy ever can.
"So, with our colourful history, strong identity, deep
rooted traditions, a commitment to artistic innovation and
diverse and beautiful landscapes, Scotland is truly blessed."
Also on Tuesday, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond will
deliver a lecture in London about independence.
Salmond is heading the campaign for secession, battling
London's efforts to prevent a "yes" verdict by undermining his
Scottish National Party's central case that oil-rich Scotland
could be a prosperous independent nation.
Financial heavyweights such as the Edinburgh-based Standard
Life and the Royal Bank of Scotland have voiced
concerns about uncertainties over currency, regulation, and tax
regimes in the event of Scottish independence.
By contrast, the head of the International Airlines Group
, the owner of British Airways, said it could be good