There definitely is a Border Boris - Janet Christie's Mum's the Word column
There is no such thing as a border between England and Scotland,” says Boris Johnson, causing Nicola Sturgeon to comment, “It’s just such an absurd statement,” sounding even more exasperated than when the sad sight of two middle-aged politicians caring who could do the most press ups caused her to tweet a withering, “Oh for goodness sake…” before turning back to the pandemic.
This time Sturgeon focuses on the simple fact that there is a geographical (and she could have added legal) boundary to her power as First Minister, otherwise she might just pop over to implement some Scottish policies in England.
While this would delight some of the English side of my family – my aunty who’d like free care for the elderly and prescriptions and isn’t really that bothered about having nuclear weapons, and my cousins who’d like free university tuition fees – some of the others might not be so keen – the ones last seen at a pre-lockdown family get-together discussing the Barnett formula with a game Eldest in the kitchen. I managed to lob in the West Lothian question before legging it for the karaoke in the living room (Youngest and I did a mean Tina Turner before the Yorkshire lot kicked in with (I’m Gonna Be) 500 Miles).
Growing up on both sides of the Tweed, I know very well the frontier is a fact, geographically and legally. Pragmatic Borderers have a centuries old tradition of reiving, or taking the best of both worlds, whether that be cattle or licensing hours, or in the case of the great-grandparents of a pal who married on a fishing coble in the river to avoid paying for the licence (nothing new about social distance weddings).
And as teens we taxied north over the Border after the pubs shut in Berwick at 10:30pm to catch a last pint in the fleshpots of Eyemouth. “Remember Sundays when the pubs opened in Scotland and not in England?” says another frontier town friend when I phone to see if she’s eased out of lockdown onto streets thronged with boozing Border ravers.
“Super Spreader Saturday?,” she says. “No thanks. I’m avoiding the toon.”
What about her brother, living on the Scottish side, would he not nip over for a pint?
“Picks up his cheap booze here every week at the supermarket then drinks it back at home,” she says.
Right enough, no minimum pricing on alcohol in England. Oh, and the drink driving limits are more lenient there too. Amazing the number of differences really, given that there’s no border between England and Scotland...
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