Leading article: Unfair veto on Sir Sean

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FROM HIS unbreakable Scottish soldier in The Hill to his definitive James Bond, Sean Connery is a great British film star. He is also a tax exile. Content to leave the green hills of Scotland far behind him for most of the year he has none the less been lending his sex appeal to romantic Scottish Nationalism - the misty-glens-and-braes variety rather than a form of politics meaningful in the lives of the people of Edinburgh to whom he once delivered milk. Connery is also credited with approving the use by men of physical force in controlling their womenfolk. Sometimes she needs a good slap, is how he is supposed to have put it.

Where in all that is Connery's claim on a knighthood and where the veto? If Donald Dewar gave him the black spot because he is a Nat, that shows the Scottish Secretary lacks political imagination. To have a member of a republican party on his knees accepting a knighthood from Elizabeth II (when all good Scots know she is only Elizabeth I) would have been a Unionist propaganda coup.

But if Connery's reported views about hitting women were the sticking point, this is hard. The star is already a freeman of the City of Edinburgh, which city has run several campaigns against domestic violence, and no one has yet suggested he be stripped of that honour. Besides, how many existing knights (or ladies) would pass parallel tests of political correctness? Knighthoods are a bauble which at best mark out people of real distinction. Sean Connery is one and has been unfairly treated.

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