J.K. Rowling donates big to keep Scotland in the UK

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Three months before Scottish voters decide whether their country will split off from Britain, “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling has thrown her weight behind a campaign to preserve Scotland’s union with England and Wales.
In a post on her web site, Rowling announced that she had given “a substantial donation” to the anti-independence Better Together campaign and explained her stance.

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“Scotland is subject to the same 21st century pressures as the rest of the world,” wrote Rowling, a longtime resident of the country. “It must compete in the same global markets, defend itself from the same threats and navigate what still feels like a fragile economic recovery.”

When the Royal Bank of Scotland needed a bailout, she wrote, being part of the United Kingdom “saved us from economic catastrophe.”

Rowling also expressed concern about how a split would affect medical research. “Having put a large amount of money into multiple sclerosis research here, I was worried to see an open letter from all five of Scotland’s medical schools expressing ‘grave concerns’ that independence could jeopardize what is currently Scotland’s world-class performance in this area,” she wrote.

Overall, “if we leave,” Rowling wrote, “there will be no going back.”
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has championed the push to separate from the United Kingdom.

“Independence is about giving ourselves the power to make our country as good as it can be,” Salmond, an ardent nationalist, told members of the semi-autonomous Scottish Parliament last year. “It’s about the right to decide, the ability to make these choices.”

The pro-independence Yes campaign argues that splitting off would help the country with job creation, public services and financial security. Scotland has “the people, resources and ingenuity to prosper,” it says on its web site. “We should be asking, why isn’t Scotland doing better, given all the natural and human wealth we enjoy?”

The referendum is scheduled for September 18.

Media reports pegged the size of Rowling’s donation to Better Together at about $1.7 million. AFP

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