BILLY Connolly may have had his run-ins with Scottish nationalism down the years, but it is Scottish Labour that bears the brunt of the Big Yin’s wrath in a new documentary.

In BBC Scotland’s Billy and Us, the comedian says he was “conned” into appearing in a Labour party political broadcast (PPB).

It was 1974, the year of two General Elections, when Labour was fighting for its life.

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Connolly’s star was in the ascendant, with a bestselling album in the shops. If Scottish Labour wanted the endorsement of a home-grown celebrity they could not have done better than the former shipyard worker.

But the way they went about it put Connolly off political parties for life.

“I used to be a Labour man,” says Sir Billy in an interview for the six-part series which ends next week.

The film cuts to a Labour PPB in which a young, long-haired Connolly is sitting at a window in a Glasgow flat. He is talking to someone who is off camera, as if he is being interviewed. “As far as I’m concerned every other party represents selfishness,” he says. “Basically, it’s fairness I’m looking for.” The picture fades and the slogan “Scotland will win with Labour” appears.

“I was kind of conned into it,” says Connolly now. “I was asked to come up to a meeting I might find interesting. I went, I didn’t find it interesting, but somebody asked me a question, I answered and I suddenly discovered I was on the [party political broadcast]. So you won’t find me very near political people now.”

He also recalls meeting an unnamed Scottish Labour politician.

“Some woman, from Anderston, where I was born. She was born there too. She started to try to ‘out slum’ me, saying my slum was worse than your slum. That thing Labour politicians do. I find it pathetic.”

Connolly has long lampooned notions of Scottishness, nationalism, and patriotism in general. In the 2014 referendum he refused to back Yes, saying he was “deeply suspicious of patriotism”. The Brexit vote seemed to change the pro-European Connolly’s mind. Last year, when asked if he would like to see Scotland independent, he replied: “I don’t know. If Scotland would like it, I would like it.”

Billy and Us finds the now retired stand-up still performing a dance of the seven veils on independence, but he seems to inch further towards it than ever before.

Insisting that his politics change “daily”, he says: “I’ve never liked nationalism in any of its guises. I’m not saying I’ve never agreed with independence. I think a Scottish republic is as good an idea as any I ever heard. But I don’t represent anybody, or anything. I don’t think it’s wise to.”

Connolly, diagnosed with Parkinson’s seven years ago, addresses class and “never letting yourself be put into a box marked ‘working class’ or ‘Scottish’ or anything else that limits who you are or what you can say”.

His own introduction to class differences came when he was a scout and it was bob-a-job week. He went from his home in working class Partick to the West End, where a woman asked him to go to the cellar and bring back some “anthracite”.

“There was only coal there,” he says, laughing. “I thought God, they even have different names for coal up here. They’re different from us.”

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Connolly, born in a room and kitchen, went on to become the owner of a stately home in Scotland, the 15-bedroomed Candacraig House in Strathdon. His celebrity friends, and his playing the laird at the Lonach Highland Games, where he entertained guests including Prince Charles, Steve Martin and the late Robin Williams, led to criticism that he was forgetting his working class roots.

Though the programme never asks him about the celebrity circuit directly, he says: “I’d be invited to dinners, I’d turn up and have a good laugh. But I never wanted to be part of it. It’s just not my cup of tea.”

The concept of class continues to fascinate and repel him. Some find comfort from thinking people are beneath them, he says.

“You see it acted out even in the working class when they look at some poor immigrant and think he’s below them and they feel quite jolly about that. I’ve never felt like that myself. Coming from an immigrant family, from Ireland, has boxed it into me that I shouldn’t feel like that.”

Billy and Us, BBC Scotland, tonight, 10pm, and on iPlayer