Tilda Swinton: ‘I feel… that Scotland is a naturally independent country’

Tilda Swinton attends the 'Suspiria' Premiere at the 2018 Vienna International Film Festival

Sometimes, it just calms me to see Tilda Swinton in a crazy outfit. She is my constant, my weird-alien constant. Tilda decided to promote Suspiria at the Vienna Film Festival on Monday, and she decided to wear one of the strangest outfits I’ve ever seen. The Schiaparelli Haute Couture dress itself is just bad – a purple bodice, with weird beige-y sleeves and some kind of vague animal-print? But the addition of green gloves is especially strange. I’m not even going to bother questioning it, honestly. I appreciate that she’s one the few people doing weird sh-t just for the sake of it. Tilda also attended an art exhibition while she was in Vienna – she happily posed with her younger lover, Sandro Kopp. She’s 57 (in human years) and he’s 40 – you can see photos here.

I think Sandro lives in Scotland, with Tilda and her sons. Tilda has always lived in Scotland, but how does she feel about Scottish independence, or “Great Britain” and all of that?

Tilda has repeatedly emphasised her nationality despite frequent confusion over her accents, which she has described as sounding like “something out of 1930s BBC”. In a new interview with the BBC, Swinton has clarified her position, stating: “I don’t quite believe the word British. I feel like it’s sort of a strictly-for-export term. I don’t really know what it means. I think it has something to do with a sort of political attitude.”

The Doctor Strange star, whose grandfather was Scottish politician George Swinton, went on: “I have lived in Scotland full-time for the last 20 years, I was brought up in Scotland through my childhood, I am from a family that has lived in Scotland for centuries. I have never felt English, and I have never felt British, politically. I am happy to describe myself as Scottish and I feel, like many people, that Scotland is a naturally independent country.”

[From The National Scotsman]

I assume this means that she supports Scottish independence? Are they going to have another vote on that, or did it get sidelined by Brexit bullsh-t? I don’t really have a dog in this hunt, but I tend to believe that more often these days, Scottish people are feeling more like Tilda. It’s like a natural evolution – they don’t feel British, they feel SCOTTISH.

Embed from Getty Images

Tilda Swinton attends the 'Suspiria' Premiere at the 2018 Vienna International Film Festival

Photos courtesy of Backgrid and Getty.

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45 Responses to “Tilda Swinton: ‘I feel… that Scotland is a naturally independent country’”

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  1. Tina says:

    I don’t think anyone loves the term “British,” but it’s useful. I think it’s probably we English people who like it best though, as otherwise we’d have to call ourselves English all the time, and there are uncomfortable (nationalist) things that sometimes go along with that. I much prefer being a citizen of the UK than I would being a citizen of England. (Not touching the Scottish question – that’s for the people of Scotland to decide).

    • Venus says:

      My mother was born in England, but her parents were Scottish. She always emphasized that she was British, not English. So, a useful term for people who moved from one part of the British Isles to another as well.

      • leyla says:

        I’ve noticed that, if we have nationality, a lot of immigrants and second gen immigrants refer to ourselves as British (or hypenated British – eg. British-Moroccan, British-Chinese, etc.).

    • Laurella says:

      I’m not British and I’m really confused by the UK. I’m going to sound really stupid, but maybe you can explain:

      How is it that the UK is considered a country, but then England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also considered countries? Countries within a country? How does that work? It makes absolutely no sense to me.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        U.K. = United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

        It is an union of 4 countries, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland having their own Parliaments (England hasn’t because Westminster legislates for England and for not devolved matters).

        My husband uses British, then Scottish (he has English parents).
        The use of British seems more common among those who have ancestry from the different countries.

        Having said that, I support Scottish independence because having lived there I got aware they are really different from the English. Brexit referendum worsened the divide so I guess it is time to go for them.

        @Kaiser Can we stop using the word ‘lover’??? What about partner or boyfriend? It really seems ageist here….

      • Tina says:

        Ok, so for international political purposes (the UN, NATO, EU etc) the UK is the country. Scotland does not get to decide on its own foreign policy or its own defence policy. However, other (primarily sporting) international organisations such as FIFA (football/soccer) recognise England, Scotland, NI and Wales as separate countries for their purposes. Internally, we refer to England, Scotland and Wales (and sometimes NI, which is sometimes referred to as a province) as countries and certain internal political matters are granted (we say devolved) to the Scottish, Welsh and NI National Assemblies/Parliaments.

      • Alyse says:

        Great Britain is the country, Scotland, England and Wales are nations within Great Britain.

      • Laurella says:

        Thank you guys!

        I think I get it. It still makes no sense, though. It’s just a different system, I guess, but it seems very unfair to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

      • Tina says:

        It’s not totally dissimilar to a federal system. It’s just that we call the component parts “countries” instead of states or provinces. The most direct parallel to the place of Scotland, Wales and NI within the UK is the place of Quebec within Canada (which, as I understand it, is often referred to as a “nation” within the country).

  2. Here or there says:

    American expat currently in Scotland here.
    Right now, I don’t think the majority of the population want another independence vote. Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader, likes to posture a lot.

    Currently we’re stuck waiting to see the fallout from Brexit. Scotland voted remain in an overwhelming majority, but we’re chained to the bus that’s being driven off the cliff by Theresa May.

    The big problem with Scotland removing itself from the UK and then applying to the EU is Spain. Spain would likely veto in a show to Catalonia that it doesn’t work that way.

    ETA: My brother in law works at the butcher Tilda Swinton frequents.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      The majority of Scotland don’t want to leave esp under the SNP and Wee Jimmy. Am Scottish living in London. Another independence vote is all she has to talk about, needs a distraction from the long term mis-management of Scotland by her inept party. Scottish people are finally seeing through the constant blaming of Westminster for the eff ups of the SNP. They never take responsibility for the mess they’ve made of things. Not everything that is wrong in Scotland is all Westminsters fault, much of it lies with Holyrood.

      Am Scottish and i consider myself as follows: Scottish, then British then European. She has a point as we consider ourselves independent from a mind set and cultural PoV as we have re-embraced our heritage again in the past few decades.

      • burdzeyeview says:

        Some Scottish people have always seen through the constant blaming of Westminster by the SNP….the SNP are inept and their one issue agenda takes precedence over everything else. And their anti-English nationalism is highly offensive and divisive IMO.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        I don’t think I ever met a more racist/xenophobic people than the English population. They are awful. One of the worst things I will ever remember about the years I spent in northern England was the absolute loneliness I had to bear because nobody wanted to be a friend of someone with a different accent. And I met people of all classes. If they were not directly unfriendly, they were detached and uninterested. This was never the case in Scotland or in any other country I ever moved to.

      • Wee Jimmy says:

        I’m Scottish living in Scotland so trump the pair of you (jk 😉) and I’m confident that most of us would rather the opportunity to save ourselves rather than be dragged off the Brexit cliff against our will. Regardless of my feelings on independence, I definitely object to misogynistic terms being used to describe the First Minister.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        @Wee Jimmy

        Agree. Look at what Dominic CRaap said yesterday… If you hear any of those at Westminster it is all going swimmingly but maybe they are referring to the fact that people will prefer to swim through the Channel instead of waiting for 2 days in a queue at Dover 😂

      • Tina says:

        @silverunicorn, I’m truly sorry you had a bad time in the North of England. But can you please not call all of us racist and xenophobic? I promise that we are not, especially in London.

      • @SilverUnicorn says:


        Sorry, but first of all I said majority, not all. And if you live in London (or always lived in London) it is like saying you are living on Mars compared to Northern England. Locals are really awful there.
        I had a… bad time? Lol We left UK months ago because I was attacked twice and had death threats post-referendum. One incident got reported, police officers at the station even joked “sorry to hear about that, up here people don’t like foreigners. If you don’t like it you can always move”.
        Police officers!
        Do you want it clearer than that?
        We took their advice though.

        After a life of migrating on the globe (lived longer outside than inside my original country), English people are, sadly, the worst ones I ever met.

        Sorry if you think I am harsh. But I had also enough of English people who are not xenophobic/racist, yet diminish the impact of what foreigners have to stand in England.

      • Wee Jimmy says:

        @Silver Unicorn – agreed, it’s appalling. In fact, the only reservations I have about independence is condemning English friends to that rabble.

      • Tina says:

        @Silver Unicorn, you said, “I don’t think I ever met a more racist/xenophobic people than the English population.” No reference to the majority at all. And I have no sympathy for the Brexiters and xenophobes, but I do take issue with the idea that English people are more racist than others. If I recall correctly, aren’t you Italian? Black British footballers have been subjected to more outright racism in Italy, Spain (and don’t get me started on Eastern Europe) than anywhere in the UK.

      • TooMany says:

        @Silver Unicorn, I think that there are a scary number of racist and xenophobic people in Northern England. The north and south of the country are very different places. I have family in Nottingham, which I consider the ‘start’ of the north and some of the stuff they put on facebook really upsets me, to the point I’m not sure that I want anything to do with them.

        I have a very mixed background with one side of my family being from Ireland & England and the other from Mexico but I consider myself British, followed by English. I was born and raised here. It’s interesting how we think of ourselves differently depending on where we are from. It seems those from England are typically likely to say they’re British before English. As a child, I thought we were all one and the same. Ireland were just the ones who couldn’t enter some competitions on TV and the Scottish lived in the cold bit.

      • @SilverUnicorn says:


        It should not be a contest and a race to the bottom! Plus my British hubby thinks the same….

        And no, at this moment English people are even appearing more racist than Italians. Which is something!
        I don’t correct my statement, sorry, as in all the places I have migrated to, surely northern England had the biggest share of racists/xenophobes. Yes, even more than in my native Italy.
        It had never happened to me not to make any local friends in 7 years! I am quite friendly and always out and about, so it is not my fault. Plus I have a bunch of Scottish friends I am still in touch with after all this time.

        It is up to you young guys to show to the world you can be better than that 😉

      • Tina says:

        Sorry, I’m not being lectured to about how racist we are by Italians. In this year, 2018, a banner was displayed at an Italian friendly that said, “My captain has Italian blood,” a clear reference to Mario Balotelli. The deputy PM of the country, Salvini, has been in a public spat with Balotelli about how he has no interest in birthright citizenship. People do not throw bananas at black players in England, north or south. This routinely happens in Italy. I’m not even going to get into the treatment of refugees from Africa.

        Can we be better, all of us? Absolutely we can. And we must. But your personal experience of lack of friendliness, as bad as I’m sure it was, is not indicative of the overall level of racism in an entire country.

      • CeeWils says:

        Always a lurker on here, never a commenter. But SilverUnicorn, your comment is hurtful and ridiculous. Fair enough, say you had a bad experience when you came to England. Even point to the rising racism and the apathy of the police officer in your situation. But the way you worded it angered me. I grew up in Essex in South England, and have now lived in Leeds in the Yorkshire for 8 years. My whole family is Scottish and I regularly go up there (as an aside, I think Scottish Independence would be a mistake, as will Brexit).
        And I have to say, I have met the best people of my life in the North. Yorkshire especially. There are bad eggs of course, but there are anywhere, and when people are struggling they are susceptible to extreme right wing views.
        Please don’t slag off the North of England. Particularly when your own country is no beacon of acceptance.

    • The Other Katherine says:

      Before Brexit, Spain would 100% have blocked Scotland’s accession to the EU. Post Brexit, if it is a messy catastrophe (and you are correct that Westminster is busy driving straight for the cliff edge right now), the political calculus is likely to change. Irish reunification becomes likely, and once the UK is ripping itself apart already, Scottish independence looks very different to the rest of Europe, especially if one of the big drivers for it is simply a desire to remain part of the European project.

      Recent polling indicates over a third of Scots are more likely to vote for independence if Brexit goes through, and independence was only voted down by a 10-point margin last time. Plus the electorate in any future independence referendum will include many voters who were too young to vote in the last one, and younger voters tended to break strongly for independence.

      As someone with family in Scotland, I was very opposed to Scottish independence at the time of the previous referendum because I thought it would be an absolute economic disaster, but I have to say that a hard Brexit, if that happens, does change my view, even though Scotland’s economy is far more bound up with rUK than with mainland EU. If the UK chooses to defenestrate itself and undergo decades of economic contraction and stagnation, I’m dubious that Scotland would be significantly worse off long-term by decoupling itself. Frankly, if Scotland is plunged into a deep recession with a crippled NHS because of England’s commitment to this xenophobic project (seasoned with delusions of empire), I’m not sure independence is something anyone will be able to stop, whether EU membership is in the offing or not.

      It’s an unsettling time, and I’m very worried about where all this ends up, no matter what path is taken.

    • Valois says:

      Spanish officials have stated several times (and for a while now) that they would not veto Scotland joining the EU if they were to vote in favour of independence and if Westminister were to accept the Scottish vote. Westminster agreeing to it would be what makes it so different from the Catalonia issue.

      With that being said, Brexit supporters have often claimed that Spain would veto it despite them being very consistent on the issue after Brexit. Just like the “back of the queue talk”, its fear-mongering.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      I don’t think the majority of Scottish people wants independence.

      However, it is not a matter of Spain or a veto in Eu… they had their chance and blew it, May is not going to give them another referendum.
      None of the people in Scotland would like a civil war due to secession from UK, hence there will never be a winning majority for independence (at all costs).

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        They don’t, they just want the Scottish parliament to do the job they were elected to do.

        IF Scotland ever get independence Spain will veto just because of what happened with the Catalan vote of independence (they were inspired by the Scottish vote). Its a none issue as they will never get another referendum regardless of how much the SNP bleat about it. They blew the ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ they had and one of the reason they’ve lost seats to the Scottish Tories is because they won’t shut up about it – its their one and only talking point and the people are bored of it. Some one should ask the SNP about the ‘donation’ Trump made to their party to get approval to build his golf course on environmentally protected dunes.

      • Valois says:

        Again, Spain said they wouldn’t veto it if Westminster agreed to it (the referendum and the result) which would make it an entirely different situation compared to the Spanish one.

      • Wee Jimmy says:

        It’s been hovering around 50/50 for years, and Brexit is ever pushing us in the right direction. Seriously though, how many times does it have to be pointed out that Spain has categorically stated they would not (in fact, could not) veto Scotland’s entrance into the EU before certain Unionists stop beating that utterly dead horse?

  3. Susannah says:

    Forget Scottish independence. How about Northeastern US independence! I want us to secede and start our own country of sane people. Who’s with me?
    I have Scottish friends who’ve always identified as Scottish over British and supported independence in theory but wanted more details about what would have happened after independence with the last vote, so they voted to remain within the U.K. I think they could be easily convinced to vote for independence this time.

    • Ashley says:

      I am a Mississippi native living in Tennessee, and I’m also a liberal democrat. 😩😩 You can guess what my frustrations are – living in a deeply red state. I have been saying for forever now that we could just give the Trumpsters one of those big northwestern states for them to start their own crazy, whitey-white country and leave us sane folk to get back to being a functional country. I used to say this as a joke, but now I’m serious.

      • Susannah says:

        I like that idea! Let’s start a GoFundMe and get them all relocated to Wyoming and Montana! 😉

  4. StallinOnMyWork says:

    One does not actually have to vote to leave a union you never voted to join.

  5. Babadook says:

    I agree with her! Tilda continues to slay in every single way possible. All hail The Weird Alien Jesus.

  6. outoftheshadows says:

    I think her outfit is exquisite–the purple keeps the beige from being too drab, the blue in the sleeve is matched by her shoes, and the green gloves give it a formal, regal quality that the lengthy purple sash also supports. I’m usually up for anything Swinton does. Any chance we could get her to mate with the other Alien Beauty, Cillian Murphy? They would have the most beautiful androgynous babies…

  7. Natalia says:

    Liked the whole thing til I got to the shoes which clash bigtime. But hey that was probably her intent!

  8. Janey says:

    I’m English, my husband is Scottish. Our son is…? I like to think we’re all British but the reality is my husband is far more “I am Scottish” whereas I feel British. So I suppose he begrudgingly accepts the British. We live in England BTW.

    • Wee Jimmy says:

      I think that’s part of the issue – as Scot who lived in England for years, I’ve heard British and English used synonymously so many times that it starts to feel that way – and therefore not applicable to me. I loved living in London, it’s just that I’m not any more English than I am Dutch or Chinese, and “British” is fast feeling the same way. My parents feel more British for what it’s worth, so maybe it’s a generational thing?

  9. Shelly says:

    I’m Scottish, I was born and raised in Scotland to a Scot and a Filipino. I consider myself Scottish, of Asian descent. I’ve never considered myself British but it’s nothing against the other countries in the Union, I just don’t *feel* British. I would maybe liken it to people from the US and Canada calling themselves “North American”, I don’t think anyone does that because it’s weird. I find being called British is weird.

  10. xflare says:

    So basically she’s a nationalist, just like Trump

    • Cheds says:

      There’s negative and positive nationalism. Can bring people together and lead to rewarding collectivity (cultural, economic, infrastructure, education, public sector, etc., etc.) in very positive ways. One world order is a pipe dream. But if you’re using nationalism to exclude and hate, that’s negative nationalism.

  11. Cheds says:

    She’s actually a very interesting interviewee, in addition to being a very good actor. Just commenting to say Scots have a nice, independence spirit and I hope they eventually achieve it. Sean Connery is another fervent believer. The nation state will be forever relevant – and they can be a positive force as long as we’re not negatively nationalistic – because they “fit” our collectivist nature as human beings in many ways.

  12. Sparker says:

    Robert the Bruce, forever!!!