By Paul English

HOLLYWOOD actor Brian Cox says Britain has come to accept food banks and homelessness because the country has lost its sense of morality.

And the Dundee-born star warned that charity fundraisers to help homelessness are in danger of becoming “glamorised”. He also predicted a Tory majority at this week’s general election, despite branding Borish Johnson a “pathalogical liar”.

Independence supporter Cox was in Edinburgh last night to host the Scottish leg of the World’s Big Sleep Out, which saw as many as 60,000 people sleep out in 52 cities around the world aiming to raise funds and awareness for the issue of homelessness.

The global event, staged by Scots homeless charity Social Bite, saw celebs like Helen Mirren and Will Smith take part in massive sleep-out events in the US in a bid to raise $50m for homelessness projects.

Cox said: “Homelessness and food banks have become a cancer, and we’ve come to accept and ignore them. I find it really distressing how these things are now seen as part of life, and how we have come to accept them.

“There’s a lack of moral imperative in the world, which is demonstrated by our lying leaders like Johnson and Trump, who tell lie after lie. And people have come to just accept that, thinking it’s part of the norm. It really shouldn’t be.

"Once you start to accept lies from your politicians, you’re screwed. I feel we’ve got to the stage now where nobody tells the truth, and we’re suffering as a result.”

And the former Labour Party member, 73, attacked the accusations of anti-Semitism levelled at the party.

He said: “This anti-Semitic thing is ridiculous. Why can’t people see the difference between being anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic? To criticise what’s happening in Gaza, and be accused of being anti-Semitic, it’s infantile.

“But Jeremy Corbyn has had a charisma bypass and I actually feel sorry for him, because he talks truth.”

In Edinburgh, New York-based star Cox joined Rab C Nesbitt actor Gregor Fisher on the bill with Dundee band Be Charlotte and Australian singer Angie McMahon.

Scots acts Travis and Tom Walker headlined the London event, held at Trafalgar Square, also featuring Sir Chris Hoy.

Opera singer Charlotte Church, Dublin band The Script, actor Seth Green and singer Frank Turner were on the bill at events from Los Angeles, to Dublin, Brisbane and Chicago.

Cox, who has featured in movies including X-Men, Bourne Supremacy and Braveheart, and recently starred as a media tycoon in hit US drama Succession, compared the issue of homelessness to the Great Depression.

He said: “In places like New York there are more homeless people than there were during the depression. It’s like a city in itself.”

Last night’s New York sleep-out saw Helen Mirren and Will Smith appear on-stage before thousands sleeping under the lights of Manhattan’s Times Square.

Thousands braved heatwaves in Brisbane and freezing temperatures in Chicago to help the cause.

But Cox warned: “You have to be really careful something like this doesn’t become glamorous. The point about doing something like this is that you stop it, not continue it.

“We have to be careful not to play into that. It’s really important to bring a consciousness to the problem of homelessness, but we have to move it on. This really can’t be something which people see as fun.”

Cox was one of several high-profile supporters of Scottish Independence during the Yes campaign in the lead up to the 2014 referendum.

Yet he predicts Thursday’s general election will see Boris Johnson elected with a Conservative majority.

He said: “I initially thought there might be a hung parliament, but I'm thinking it will be a majority, which I think will be terrible. And Scotland has to get out of that, because the United Kingdom really doesn’t work anymore. It’s rotten to the core.”

Cox lives between New York and London, but considers Scotland to be his home.

His transatlantic perspective gives him a first-hand comparison between the political landscape in the UK and the US.

He said: “The same people who brought Trump in, brought Brexit in. They were brought in my people who were disaffected, people who had been ignored time and again, particular where Brexit is concerned in the north of England.

“The norm is shifting, and all the screaming about diversity and liberalism hasn't actually helped, because it’s not active. Gender politics in particular smacks of tokenism, there’s no purchase.

“There’s something more fundamental, about basic human rights, that is being ignored.”

The first Big Sleep Out was held in Edinburgh in 2016. The event was the brainchild of Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn, who launched a cafe in Edinburgh in 2012 to help homeless people.

The first event drew 270 people, with the number steadily growing as acts including Liam Gallagher, Frightened Rabbit, KT Tunstall and Deacon Blue performing in subsequent years.

Sleepout founder Josh Littlejohn said: “Having worked with homeless people for the last seven years, I know first-hand how invisible and forgotten people can feel. What the incredible 60,000 people who slept out all over the world have done tonight, is to shine the spotlight on this global issue and show that we care.

"I am truly blown away by the response to our campaign and sincerely grateful to every single person who has given up their beds tonight to raise the funds and awareness needed to make an impact. I hope that what happened in this campaign demonstrates a clear mandate for political action to tackle the homelessness crisis to whoever ends up in government in a few days time.”