How could a tiny minority ruin Britain?

Monday 15 September 2014

Image credit: @globeandmail

I began my TV career in the newsroom at Border Television, a franchise which did exactly what it said on the tin: we covered the British border country from Barrow-in-Furness in south Cumbria all the way to the skirt-hems of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

I rented a tiny cottage in the hamlet of Rigg, perched along the stunning Solway Firth on the Scottish side of the border. There are few beaches on the Firth - mostly lush green turf grows right down to the surging tidal waters where grazing sheep and cattle take their chances.

Gretna Green was a couple of miles away and a Saturday morning shopping trip to Edinburgh was less than two hours up the road through some of the most delightful countryside in this nation of ours (and what may in five days from now be another nation.) My apprenticeship took me on stories all over the beautiful Borders - Galashiels, Hawick, Stranraer - and as a young man who had been born and bred in Greater London the experience absolutely defined my sense of what it meant to be British.

Like so many living in these islands today I am of mixed English and Scottish blood. My late mother was a McEwan. I took no small pride that I was now abiding in the land of her forefathers. And so did she, bless her.

In our small newsroom, full of Scottish and English journalists, we scarcely thought about the fact we were covering both sides of a border. It was just "our patch". The integration was total obvious, ancient. Zipping up from Carlisle to Selkirk in the camera car on some story or other seemed no more or less significant than crossing the border between, say, Yorkshire and Lancashire, or Essex and Kent.

Read Richard and Judy's Daily Express column in full here.