The Way I See It

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There was a good deal of political chicanery going on in the town this week as Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon sailed into Hawick on a giant wave of propaganda. And it was pretty obvious that the Scottish National Party’s visit to Hawick was nothing more than an attempt to drum up support for the ‘Yes’ campaign before next year’s independence referendum.

Personally, I was a bit annoyed, and the reason for my angst was that I couldn’t attend Tuesday’s public debate at the high school. The timing for this event was, in my opinion, conveniently inconvenient to say the least . . . if you’re among the ranks of the employed, that is. And I’m sure I’m not the only one among the local working population who would have liked to sit and listen to the debate, or maybe even ask a few questions.

Of course, it’s very rarely that one gets a direct answer from a politician. There is usually a lot of talk but very few words of substance, and the orignial question often goes unanswered. Nonetheless, the chance to attend without having to lose a day’s wages would have been appreciated.

Politics is something I take a keen interest in, although there are often things I have to admit that I don’t completely understand.

On the subject of my indpendence vote, I’ll keep my intentions to myself at the moment, but it’s plain that there’s plenty of reasons for and against Scotland going it alone.

For instance, British foreign policy abhors me, and if Scotland were to gain independence we could rid ourselves of the Trident nuclear defence programme and the collosal cost which comes with it, and we would no longer be in the thrall of the British government which so actively participates in wars which are increasingly being viewed as illegal.

However, it remains worryingly unclear whether or not Scotland could survive economically. I very much doubt an independent Scotland could have bailed out the Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax Bank of Scotland.

I’m also not sure why Scotland would retain the Queen as head of state if a yes vote were to occur. Is that really autonomy? I know, I know, that’s me indulding in a spot of royal-bashing again, but it’s surely a pertinent point?

What’s clearly apparent, though, is that there are many questions which still need answered before casting one’s vote.

And even though the £77,000 of government funding for new tennis courts in the town is brilliant, I can’t help feeling it was nothing more than a ‘sweetener’ in an attempt to carry favour with the younger generation, many of whom will be eligible to vote in the independence poll.

What I would really liked to have asked Mr Salmond was would he really be visiting Hawick with his high-ranking party members if there wasn’t a referendum on the horizon?

His refusal to commit to a reduction in business rates proves just how out of touch he really is. Did he even bother to walk along the High Street during his brief visit? Obviously not, or he would have seen the economic troubles our town is currently facing.

Is he even aware that Burnfoot is repeatedly ranked as one of the country’s most deprived areas?

And wasn’t his televised announcement about the tennis court funds, at the site of the Bill McLaren bust, just a brazen publicity stunt in a bid to increase his popularity in the Borders?

I, for one, think it was, and won’t be persuaded otherwise.