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Sean Connery tries a new role --for Scotland


LONDON -- Was James Bond a double agent working against the British government, a mole operating within the very heart of Her Majesty's Secret Service?

RTC If so, who was his paymaster?

The KGB? The CIA? The SNP?


Well, maybe "paymaster" is a bit strong.

"We could never afford to pay Sean Connery," said Alex Salmond, head of the SNP, the Scottish National Party.

"He did it because he has been a long-term sympathizer over many years. Now he's turned that sympathy into active support," he said.

Sean Connery established the film role of Ian Fleming's laconic superspy, James Bond, Agent 007, licensed to kill. For years, and in more films than most people care to remember, he portrayed the randy English spy with a taste for vodka martinis (shaken, not stirred), ever prepared to give his all for queen and country.

But which country, exactly?

Scotland, it turns out. Mr. Connery has revealed his true colors by making a television broadcast on behalf of the SNP, urging Scots to transfer their loyalties from London to the ideal of an independent Scotland.

The party, which just concluded its convention in Inverness, was jubilant. Mr. Connery is the world's most famous Scot. He is very popular back home. New SNP membership applications shot over 1,000.

"That is a substantial increase," said Mr. Salmond. Mr. Connery's declared support for Scottish independence may have been the best thing to happen for the cause since Scotland surrendered its sovereignty in the Act of Union with England in 1707, a sovereignty which at least some people have been trying to reclaim every since.

Mr. Salmond hopes the support for the SNP created by Mr. Connery's coming in from the cold can be translated into concrete advances, maybe even an increase in the number of seats the party holds in the British House of Commons -- now 5 of the 72 seats for Scotland.

The SNP is the third largest party in Scotland.

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