Sunday, 15 April 2007

Scottish Borderer

I just have to comment on the remarks of Jeremy Purvis - Lib Dem candidate for Tweeddale, Etterick & Lauderdale - in today's Sunday Herald. He states that he was brought up as a Borderer, not as Scottish or English, and that national identity is somehow irrelevant in this part of Scotland.

He also makes a rather bizarre case against independence. He implies that his granny in Berwick, just across the border in England, would be denied access to the nearest large hospital, which is the Borders General Hospital in Scotland.

As a Borderer myself, I don't accept his analysis about national identity. It is true that there is a strong Borders identity, and that the Borders has a fair number of residents originally from England. So what? I had plenty of friends at school with one Scottish and one English parent, who both had strong national identifies and a strong Borders identity too. I think we can all accept that people can simultaneously possess a number of identities e.g. Scottish and European. What is wrong with having a sense of national identity, or regional identity for that matter?

The town of Berwick is very much part of the Borders community, and there is no reason for that to change with Scottish independence. Or does Jeremy believe that the high school rugby and hockey teams from Berwick will be prevented from playing with the other Borders teams by burly border guards?!? Surely, he would not peddle such ludicrous ideas...

And the same goes for his argument about the hospitals. With independence, will there be a 10 foot concrete wall erected at the border preventing ambulances from Berwick getting to the nearby hospital in Scotland? Of course not!

I doubt Jeremy believes this for a second, but it is all part of the desperate scaremongering that parties like his are engaging in for the purpose of protecting their own position and the union.

With independence, Scotland and England will not become strangers. We will build a new relationship, as equal nations and friends. No walls, no border guards.

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