More than 200 celebrities, including Mick Jagger, Sting, Stephen Hawking and Helena Bonham Carter, have signed an open letter asking Scots to vote in favor of keeping Scotland a part of the United Kingdom when they vote on an independence referendum on September 18th, The Telegraph reports. “We want to let you know how very much we value our bonds of citizenship with you, and to express our hope that you will vote to renew them,” the letter states. “What unites us is much greater than what divides us.”
In late 2013, the U.K. passed a bill allowing Scotland to vote on the referendum, which, if passed, would grant independence to the country, which has a population of about 5.3 million people and is about the size of Maine. The celebrities’ letter, which is part of a campaign called Let’s Stay Together, is meant to give a voice to non-Scots who are not allowed to vote on the referendum. The letter acknowledges that while the right to independence is the Scots’ alone, the decision would greatly impact the rest of the U.K.
Historians Dan Snow and Tom Holland organized the letter and plan on traveling around England and Wales over the next month with hopes of getting signatures from the general public. “We believe that the key missing message is a positive, emotional one: not telling the Scottish electorate what to do or what not to do, but telling them how we feel about Scotland, about being part of the U.K. and about our collective place in the world,” they wrote on their website.
Other notable Britons who have signed the bill include actors (Judi Dench, Eddie Izzard, Patrick Stewart, Steve Coogan), Olympians (Tom Daley, Steve Redgrave), musicians (Bryan Ferry, David Gilmour, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cliff Richard, Vera Lynn) and public figures (David Attenborough, Simon Cowell); one notable non-Brit who signed it is Michael Douglas. The Telegraph reports that the letter’s signatories have won 18 Olympic gold medals, 44 BAFTAs a Nobel Prize and two Turner Prizes.
Scotland, which was its own country dating back to the ninth century, was first united with England under the name Great Britain in 1707. The countries officially established the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1927. Ireland, which became a part of the U.K. in the 19th century, had parted ways with the U.K. in 1921.