Letter to the Berwick Advertiser:
The news that Christine Grahame, (a Scottish National Party MSP) wants to 'bring the English town of Berwick-upon-Tweed back into the Scottish fold' and that (Lib Dem MSP) Jeremy Purvis would like to 'annexe up to 20 miles of Northumberland, including Holy Island' - and absorb it all into a greater Scotland, is nothing short of an outrage, worthy of an overly gold-braided banana republic despot. Do Purvis and Grahame intend to park their tanks on Berwick's municipal lawns, parachute a battalion of Highlanders onto the Town Hall roof, goose-step down Berwick High Street and claim the territory for the glorious Scottish Empire?
This outrageous attempt to filch yet another sovereign part of English national territory will not go unchallenged. England is not a cake to be broken up piecemeal and given willy-nilly to anyone who wants a slice. If these two MSP politicians had voiced their aggressive intentions towards any other country other than England, it would quite rightly be viewed by all as a singular act of imperialist expansion, not seen in Western Europe since the days of the Munich agreement.
Berwick has been continuously part of England since 1482 - a full decade before Christopher Columbus discovered America. As Scotland's 'claim' on Berwick is historical, does it mean that Purvis and Grahame will next be pressing for the USA to be handed back to native Americans? Perhaps they would like to give the Western Isles of Scotland back to Norway - and the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Northumbria to once again stretch all the way up to its original northern boundary of Edinburgh? Or is their view of history somewhat 'selective'?
These pathetic 'grass is greener' mind games with the people of Berwick will backfire. The pressure within England is ever growing for constitutional change. The last few opinion polls have shown over 60% of people in England in favour of an English Parliament. Dissatisfaction within England at the size of the Barnett Formula contribution to Scotland will grow and grow until bugetary reform becomes inevitable. And when it does, do you think Scotland will still be able to afford all the goodies they can now?
Sooner rather than later, the Barnett Formula bonanza will be scrapped, and when it is, there will be no doubt which side of the border will benefit. Instead of shipping billions to Scotland, taxes raised in England will once again be spent on public services for the benefit of the people of England - including those in Berwick-upon-Tweed.
I suggest that Purvis and Grahame mind their own damn business, get on with the job of being Members of the Scottish Parliament, representing their Scottish constituents - and leave the business of England to the people of England. And as for the people of Berwick? Join the English Democrats - a party campaigning for an English Parliament and an end to the Barnett Formula. The sooner England has her own national parliament - the sooner we can take control of our own affairs.... and the sooner the people of England, including those in Berwick will reap the financial rewards.