LONDON - Scotland’s independence debate has gripped the world of show business, pitting heavyweights such as Paul McCartney and Sean Connery on opposite sides, but many remain tight-lipped over fears of repercussions.

On August 7, 200 celebrities signed their names to an open letter pleading the Scots to remain in the union.

These included former Beatle McCartney, rocker Mick Jagger, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and Hollywood stars such as Helena Bonham-Carter, Michael Douglas and Bond actress Judi Dench.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has been one of the most prolific celebrities in the “No” campaign, publishing the reasons for her decision on her website and engaging in lively debate on Twitter.

Rowling, who was born in England but has lived in Edinburgh for 21 years and is married to a Scot, donated one million pounds ($1.6 million, 1.3 million euros) to the anti-independence Better Together campaign.

“I doubt whether we will ever have been more popular, or in a better position to dictate terms, than if we vote to stay,” Rowling wrote.

Taking a more humorous tone, “Austin Powers” actor Mike Myers spoke in the voice of his Scottish ogre character “Shrek” when asked his opinion of the campaign in a radio interview.

“Shrek wants what the will of the Scottish people want,” Myers responded in Shrek’s distinctive Scottish accent. Then he added in his native Canadian voice “I love Scotland. I hope they remain part of Britain - and if they don’t, I still love them.” Actress Emma Thomson said “I understand the romance of it. I understand the passion for it, given that the relationship between the two countries has been so belligerent and so difficult and England was so awful to Scotland.”

But she added: “I find it difficult to accept it when borders are still causing so many problems. Why insist on building a new border between human beings in an ever-shrinking world where we are still struggling to live alongside each other?” Music legend David Bowie expressed his view in a message read out by model Kate Moss at an awards show: “Scotland, stay with us”.

But other celebrities have proudly backed the idea of Scotland going it alone.