SBC independents in Better Together camp

Councillor Michael Cook
Councillor Michael Cook
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A majority of Scottish Borders Council’s independent group, including Eyemouth’s Michael Cook, have pledged support for the Better Together campaign.

Councillor Cook is joined by six of the other nine independents on the council - Councillors Aitchison, Edgar, Gillespie, Marshall, McAteer and White. The three independents who haven’t pledged to support a no vote in the Scottish independence referendum are council leader David Parker (who as a former SNP councillor has already indicated his intention to vote ‘yes), and councillors Paterson and Stewart.

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are fighting in the Better Together camp and with 16 councillors between them, it looks likely that the majority of Borders councillors are in favour on staying united with the rest of Britain.

Councillor Sandy Aitchison, leader of the independent group on Scottish Borders Council, said: “By their very nature, independent councillors are free from party political dogma and totally committed to serving the best interests of the communities. For that reason, we feel compelled to speak out. Here in the Borders we have the best of both worlds: Scotland within the UK.

Councillor Michael Cook, depute leader of the group, added: “To the Nationalists, every contradiction is scare-mongering, but if they insist on building tartan castles in the air they shouldn’t be surprised that those delusions are subjected to scrutiny.

“No one should be condemned for pointing out the huge flaws in the independence proposition. Telling someone not to cross a busy motorway with their eyes closed may be negative advice, but it just might save their life!

“Beyond the strategic questions of currency, fiscal policy and EU membership, for us in the Borders there are real anxieties about cutting ourselves off from those just a short distance away on the English side of the Border. If an independent Scottish government insists on a different approach to immigration from the rest of the UK, or negotiation for EU entry compels change, how can we imagine that the rest of the UK would not put in place controls on entry from Scotland?

“For those of us living in the Borders, access to health care, dentistry or even supermarkets in places like Berwick means we can’t be as blasé about separation as the First Minister. Every Borderer owes it to themselves and their fellow Borderers to reject the Nationalist exercise in self-deception and say ‘No’ in September.”