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Petition over referendum ban

Almost 1500 people have backed an online petition calling on Edinburgh International Festival Director Sir Jonathan Mills to overturn a decision not to commission referendum-themed shows next year.

Chris Law organised the campaign - addressed to Sir Jonathan - through the change.org website after the director's recent comments that next year's event should be a "politically neutral space."

It provoked a debate about how the annual arts festival should approach the issued of independence in the run-up to the referendum in September 2014. Sir Jonathan has now said there is no such ban, and Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has said the themes of the Commonwealth Games and World War One that will feature in the programme would have messages relevant to the debate about Scotland's future. However, in an open letter to the director published, Mr Law, of Dundee, said: "I appeal to you to reconsider your decision taken in the name of 'political neutrality' that next year's festival will take no account of the referendum."

He added that whilst he appreciated his comments that there wasn't a ban, Mr Law said Sir Jonathan was effectively doing so, denying visitors a "direct opportunity for the richly diverse artistic community of Scotland to be able to engage, inform and promote debate on the future of the nation."

He said they would be shocked by the "complete absence of any creative works dealing with the topic."

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