Actor Brian Cox has urged voters to "conquer their fears" and vote for an independent Scotland. The prominent Yes campaigner and rector of Dundee University told an audience at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to seize the opportunity of September's referendum. Cox, who is best known for his roles in Hollywood films such as Rob Roy, Braveheart and The Bourne Supremacy, delivered a lecture at the capital's Assembly Rooms.
He said: "I know and understand why many people are afraid about taking this decision. They want to know whether it will be worth it and are not sure what it will mean. It is true that we are caught between many emotions. But my message is this: Conquer your fear and go for it. Our country needs us, but we also need a country.
"This is an opportunity not only of our lifetime, but of many lifetimes, because the journey to this point has been one of generations. It is the opportunity to be true to who we are - and that is the very essence of enlightenment."
Cox reflected on the attraction of London and Labour in his days as a young actor, and explained why he was converted to support independence. He said: "Today that connectedness to Labour and the Union has, of course, long since evaporated. The paradox is that it is now the SNP who are protecting the Labour legacies of the NHS and welfare state in a way that Labour in London has rejected or neglected.
"As an actor, I didn't want to be stereotyped. But I also had to come to terms with who I was. Scots haven't had the opportunity to really say who we are for more than three centuries. This referendum now gives us that opportunity. We've often been told who we are, or who we should be, or what our value is. This time, in this vote, we get to define ourselves, in our own terms and in our own land." The lecture was entitled Scotland's Path to Re-enlightenment.