Bordering on the ridiculous
With apparently 40% of Scots favouring independence in a poll in December it is refreshing to revisit Eric Robson's interesting account of a walk along the Border as recorded in The Border Line-published in 2006. After a rather downbeat description of the delights of Coldstream, that wild frontier outpost-he quotes from an article by Matthew Engel, a Grudien reporter, about the apparent lack of nationalism on either side of the Border; " The sparsely populated communities of north Northumberland don't feel intensely English as they know London thinks Damn All about them. Some people even support Scotland at sport which would be unthinkable in reverse. The nearby Scottish towns are largely sufficient unto themselves. They have to be as the road links are wretched and the railways non-existent. The inhabitants are as suspicious of Glasgow and Edinburgh as they are of London.....If Glaswegians are 90- minute Nats, caring for Scotland only when the football is on, Borderers appear to be 80- minute Nats-the duration of a rugby match'
Mr Robson is very anti the idea of independence for Scotland-sensible bloke-so he may not be an impartial observer and I much enjoyed his description of Norham Bridge, across the Tweed, likely to be known after independence as:Checkpoint Jimmy
I must take slight issue with Mr Engel. Roads are far from wretched in most cases and free of traffic. Perhaps see 5 or 6 cars between Hutton and Kelso on an average day. (Fishwick is of course an exception-traffic jams galore) Railhead at Berwick is quite enough for my needs thankyou and we can do without the Waverley Line. As for 50/40 minute nationalists. Try Melrose where a game of Rugby VIIs lasts about ten minutes. Thats quite enough nationalism for grown ups.
The image is of Coldstream Bridge. An alternative border crossing to Checkpoint Jimmy. It brings you to Scotland's First Border Toon-or away from it as the fancy takes you.
A protege of Robert (Rabbi) Burns (later disowned) wrote about it:
Hail fair structure of the Bridging Race:
Safely across Tweed's Bonnie Banks
To Engerland, Fair Albion's Face
Away from Hame: To God give Thanks
Labels: Rabbi Burns, Scottish politics, SNP, The Border