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SILLY BILLY CONNOLLY; TARTAN BARMY: Comic's rant at patriots.

Bigmouth Billy Connolly put the boot into Scots patriots yesterday.

He told TV viewers he had a "deep loathing" of Scottish nationalists.

And the Big Yin got ripped into Labour plans for devolution.

Last night, his vicious attacks during an interview with Sir David Frost were condemned by MPs.

Connolly recently upset many Scots by slagging off Mel Gibson's film Braveheart, about Scots hero William Wallace - and yesterday's outbursts are certain to do the same.

He blasted heroes like Wallace, saying: "I have always had a deep loathing for patriots and flag-wavers and people whose only claim to fame is that they come from a place.

"If your biggest claim to fame is your nationality, you are in deep trouble.

"I love Scotland, I am very fierce about Scotland itself. But I hate the way nationalists think they own the place.

"You always hear them say they speak for Scotland. Well, I am one of the people of Scotland and they don't speak for me."

SNP chief executive Mike Russell hit back at Connolly, who built much of his career around being Scots but now lives in California.

Russell said: "He should get back to trying to be funny instead of showing his terminal confusion about Scottish politics:

"I am not surprised he hasn't said anything sensible about Scotland, I'm more surprised he remembers where Scotland is.

"Scotland is bored with him and bored with his comments."

And Connolly later seemed to contradict himself about nationalism when asked about a Scottish Assembly.

He said: "If people want independence, I think that is brilliant, but I don't want a Stormont.

"I don't want a pretendygovernment in Edinburgh and a rush of carpetbaggers along the M8 to join it.

"It is just another expensive layer of government."

Labour's Scottish campaign co-ordinator Henry McLeish MP hit back: "A devolved Parliament will not be `pretendy' as he puts it.

"It will be very real, with real powers, the biggest constitutional change for 300 years."

Connolly, once a strong Labour supporter, angrily refused to back any of the political parties for the forthcoming General Election.

And he denounced all politicians as "a bunch of chancers".

The 54-year-old looked like a character from the Old Testament with his flowing grey hair and shaggy grey beard, which he said he hadn't cut for nine months.

He said he regularly visited Samye-Ling Tibetan Centre near Lockerbie.

But he denied he had become a Buddhist.

Millionaire Connolly moved to California to try to boost his career in the States - but his sitcom, Billy, was axed after just one series.

Yet the Glasgow-born comedian gave his strongest hint yet that he'll never return to live here.

He told Sir David: "I love it, I am very happy there. There is no beginning, middle or end. The whole thing is nuts.

"There's an optimism in the air that I love, the same as Australia.

"In Britain, there is a kind of pessimism, especially with the election coming up. Someone is always condemning someone else."

He also talked of wife Pamela Stephenson's new career as a sex shrink.

Proud Billy said: "She is in practice now and specialises in sex, human sexuality. She is brilliant at it."
COPYRIGHT 1997 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:McNAB, KEN
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 10, 1997
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