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Comedian Izzard proves he is more than just a pretty face

THE campaign to keep Scotland in the UK has been described as many things - serious, scary even - but colourful is not one of them.

Eddie Izzard changed all that yesterday with his fingernails alone.

The comedian well known for being a transvestite, launched a new Better Together initiative, called Scotland Please Don't Go,and appeared in Edinburgh with nails painted as a Union Flag and the yellow-starred banner of the EU.

It goes without saying Izzard cut a considerably more flamboyant figure than the man seated to his left, Alistair Darling.

"If you were Scottish and transvestite, you could have the same nails and it would work," he quipped.

Izzard was speaking ahead of a gig last night at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre last night to raise funds for the new campaign.

In the audience at the show was JK Rowling. The best-selling author attended as a guest of Mr Darling in a high-profile show of support for the Better Together campaign. She has previously voiced her backing for Scotland staying in the UK and has described herself as "pro-union".

Izzard, a Labour campaigner who has spoken of seeking the party's nomination to run for London Mayor in 2020, said he had volunteered to play a part.

In an emotional plea for the UK to stick together, he said: "As a member of the UK family I felt I should say a simple message, which is - Scotland don't go.

"There are millions of people in the UK who feel this.

"I think Scotland can have the best of both worlds - a strong parliament and the strength and stability that comes from being part of the UK."

Recalling the 2012 Olympic Games and his excitement at Andy Murray's tennis gold medal, he added: "I think we do amazing things when we are together."

Izzard famously ran 41 marathons in 53 days for Sport Relief in 2009. Recalling the epic jog, he said: "I ran round the whole of the UK and I did not find a difference when I got to the Border.

"We are all the same as human beings, that's what I found when I ran round Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. What humans do is gradually come together. Pulling apart? I don't go with that."

Izzard joined Mr Darling in a room plastered with images of music hall greats such as George Formby.

He largely kept his gags for the gig, which he stressed was not political but, asked if he was worried about online abuse from the so-called cybernats, he replied: "You have to realise, I'm a transvestite. I've had a lot of negative things said to me down the years. Politics is nothing."

At the gig itself, a call of "Eddie I love you" greeted the comedian as he took to the stage. Izzard responded: "A positive heckle, I wasn't expecting that, I was ready for a fight."

He told the crowd: "I apologise for all the bad stuff, the war, the blood, the death, but I'm the only Edward to run eight marathons carrying a Scotland flag.

"It all works and in 300 years Scotland's not lost its identity. If you watch a Scotland football match you can definitely see that you've not lost your identity."

Earlier he'd been asked whether he was there to change the "negative" tone of the Better Together campaign. He dodged the question like a true politician, saying: "I'm trying to be positive."

He accepted the decision on September 18 was for Scots alone to take, but he went on: "You can be Scottish and British and European.

"Have the Parliament with more powers but be with us. As David Bowie said, please stay with us."

Mr Darling said: "This is a referendum that is going to be decided by people who live and work in Scotland but it is also important we hear the voices of people who live and work in other parts of the UK. Part of our message is that we are better and stronger together."

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