Berwick A Town Unwanted By England – Torn From Scotland – Left In Limbo By The English For 500 Years and They Wonder Why the People Of Berwick Wish Only That They Be Returned to Their Kinfolk in Scotland









Berwick – Ripped From Scotland By The Bloody Hands Of Edward Longshanks and His Successors – But Not Assimilated Into England Until 1974

With Westminster being almost 350 miles away from Berwick-upon-Tweed, its residents do not feel connected to English politics. With bagpipes playing and Scottish flags fluttering in the wind, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Scotland.

But this is Berwick-upon-Tweed, part of Northumberland – the most northern town in England and just two-and-a-half miles from the Scottish border. It has a turbulent history – passing between English and Scottish hands at least 13 times, starting with King Edward 1st who slaughtered and/or destroyed just about everyone and everything in the town, (children, adults, livestock and grain) for having the temerity to pledge their allegiance to Scotland. The killing, raping and plundering went on for days and the streets of Berwick ran red with the blood of the innocents.

With the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh just over an hour away by road, and Westminster more than six hours by car, do the people feel more Scottish than English? Well the answer was provided by the people of Berwick in 2008 when ITV carried out an unofficial referendum to find out if residents would prefer their town to be part of Scotland. The poll saw 1,182 voters in favour of becoming part of Scotland and 775 in favour of staying in England.




The Scottish Parliament was convened again in 1999, for the first time since 1707 following a devolution referendum.

Our kinfolk in Berwick watched on with aching hearts longing to be to be part of Scotland once more. A local interviewed at the time of the ITV referendum said “As devolution cut its teeth and aged, I think Berwick people became aware of the differences perhaps more than anyone else in England because [Scotland] is so close and they can see what’s happening just over the border,”

The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, defenders of Berwick and freemen of the town recently marched through Berwick after returning from Afghanistan. Locals turned out in force to welcome their boys home and many were adamant Berwick should be returned to Scotland.

Berwick resident Eileen Buchanan felt the town was detached from what was happening at Westminster. “They do nothing for us at this end of the country,” she said. “Nothing. This is like the back of beyond as far as London is concerned.”

Marion Bates, who was born and raised in Berwick, waved a Scottish flag as she watched the parade with her husband Trevor Bates, who was born in Scotland. When asked if she felt her hometown should be part of Scotland, she said “Berwick is just a lost town. “My youngest son came out of the Army two years ago and there are no jobs. There is nothing for him.” Mr Bates added: “From Parliament in London to Newcastle, that’s where it stops.”

Part-time student Jonathan Bain, 34, said “When you look at Berwick’s history, it’s no surprise that the town is divided.”


Kings Own Scottish Borders march through their hometown of Berwick celebrating “Minden Day”




The Royal Scots Borderers march through Berwick


Kings Own Scottish Borderers veterans marching into the KOSB barracks in Berwick


A Brief Recap of Berwick’s History

In Anglo-Saxon times, Berwick-upon-Tweed was part of the Kingdom of Northumbria – an area stretching between York and Edinburgh. In 1018, following a battle between the Scots and the Northumbrians, it became part of Scotland.

Its importance as a Scottish town grew and, by the Middle Ages, it was the richest port in the country. In 1296, England’s King Edward I captured Berwick-upon-Tweed, beginning a period of warfare between the two nations which saw the town change hands 13 times. The last time it changed hands by force was in 1482 when it came under English control.

Even then it remained independent, with legal documents referring to it as being of the Kingdom of England but not within it. In 1885, it became part of the county of Northumberland for administrative purposes and was fully integrated into the county in 1974.
Historian Derek Sharman said the people of Berwick felt independent. “It’s been a ping pong ball for centuries,” said Derek Sharman, a historian and tour guide in Berwick. “It’s a very very on-the-edge kind of place. “The people of Berwick feel really independent. You are a Berwicker first, Scottish or English second.”


Image result for berwick upon tweed images





Capture of Berwick 1492


The Labour Party in Scotland Believe Education is Their Strong Point in the 2016 Elections – Have I Got News For You Kezia






The Labour Party in Scotland Flexes it’s Muscles

Dugdale’s first major policy announcement came late in the month of September 2015 – Probably because she was head girl at her secondary school she chose Education as the stage for her first battle with the SNP government. Whoever is giving her advice needs their head examined. The Labour Party track record on education is deplorable. And poor Kezia will pay the price for the blunder.


Image result for labour party images


30 September 2015: Video: Dugdale puts education at heart of Scottish Labour’s first 2016 Holyrood election campaign film

Scottish Labour have called for every child to be given the best possible start in life in their first advert of the 2016 Holyrood election campaign.

Kezia Dugdale’s party launched the advert on YouTube today ahead of its television premiere on BBC and STV tonight.

The video, called Question Time, shows Dugdale answering questions from a group of young people.



Lord (I’ll never join that lot of spongers) Lord Prescott


john collatin: Perhaps she can start by ladling into the Labour controlled Councils and their management of Education?

How is Jackie Baillie’s West Dunbartonshire team doing? Cutting classroom hours and a cold snack for pupils at lunchtime on a Friday.

4000 teachers cut by Local Authorities, while Arms Length money losing contracts are kept artificially afloat by my rates?

PFI rents for schools sanctioned by Brown and Blair. A 25 year bill we did not want. And we still won’t own the schools.

Colleges awarding themselves footballer EBT sized redundancy and pensions pots.

‘Education, education, education’. Remember that wee gem from the Fettes educated leader? And who introduced academy schools. The Tory leader of the Labour party.

I doubt that there will be a candidate of any hue who would not stand on an “every child to be given the best possible start in life” pledge.

Airhead pamphleteering from the self styled leader of the autonomous Scottish Labour Party. I take it that she will roundly condemn tuition fees, and support free school meals for all pupils. Unless Westminster tells her otherwise of course.

Where did the money come from for the video? Scottish Labour funds, or London Labour?



Robin Stevenson: Dugdale stated: “50% of the poorest kids leave our schools unable to read.”

While stating the the Daily [broken] Record: “I’ve made education my No1 priority, The fact that under this SNP Government more than 6,000 children leave primary school unable to read properly is shameful”.

There are currently 385,200 children in primary-school education in Scotland. If we’re talking about 6,000 or so, that’s just under 1.6%. According to Dugdale that’s “50% of the poorest kids”.



John Collatin: I think that you’ll find that the vast majority of pupils who leave primary unprepared for a secondary education live in Labour controlled Councils.

The poverty that is the main factor in kids from poorer backgrounds under achieving lies at the door of Willie Rennie, and Ruth Davidson, and the financial mismanagement at Council level, predominantly controlled by New Labour Card Carriers in the built up industrial wastelands.

But Kezia won’t be attacking them, and the Blue Tories continued assault on our poorest and ‘hard working families’, will she?

The unholy alliance that is Better Together trumps any Corbyn Marxist attack on the Tories and Lib Dems Up Here.

SNP BAD is the only game in town, and Corbyn will be told this when he visits, and 700 or so Red Tory activists are herded into an auditorium and filmed by the assembled media.

The Austerity package voted through by the Red Blue and Yellow Tories in January will proceed unchallenged, and 1.5 million of our citizens already living below the poverty line because of Willie’s and Ruth’s Austerity (what ah effin’ 1984 description of financial vandalism) cuts in the last five years, and Ruth’s even harsher attack on the poor for the next five years p[lunges even more Scottish citizens into poverty.

Yet according to Kezia, all this poverty and declining educational attainment is the SNP’s fault.

Not the Tories, not the LD’s, not Miliband’s powder puff opposition, not the Local Education Authority high priced managers or the local councils.

It’s that Nicola Sturgeon’s fault. Utter guff from a party mouthpiece.but we are still not listening, Ms Dugdale.



David MacKenzie: I’d rather she put “truth” at the heart of her campaign.

Elizabeth Myles: You’ll have a long wait David.

Richard Holmes: Just heard the party political broadcast featuring Dugdale on the telly; to describe it as bland would be kind.

Alastair Gordon: ‘puerile’ would be kind! Question time with 5 & 6 year olds – really . . . And today at FMQs she proved where heart really lies – in the gutter!

Alan Stewart: The ineptitude of this unintelligent and gauche woman is almost painful to watch, even for those who do not wish her party well. What an embarrassment.





But is the record of the Labour Party in Scotland exemplary? A look back to the year 2000 is telling.


Confirmed Unionist Party




August 2000 – Scottish Exams System in Crisis

The Scottish examination system was left in crisis whilst the Scottish Education Minister, Sam Galbraith, passed the buck on to the agency that has responsibility for administrating the Scottish exam system. This was despite year’s of warning by teachers and opposition politicians that the new exams would cause administrative problems.

Over 140,000 school exam candidates received their results last month to tell them how they had performed in the exams which decide whether or not they will go to university or college. However the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA), struggling with a new computer system, was thrown into confusion when some students failed to receive their results or received results that were inaccurate. Some pupils even received results for exams they had not sat and a number of native Russian speakers were failed in their Russian language exam.

The Chief Executive of the SQA resigned but the Education Minister passed the buck on to the organisation despite the fact that he was warned about such problems and that thousands of students will have their university applications delayed.

Commenting on the chaos, the Shadow Education Minister Ms Nicola Sturgeon MSP said:

“After sustained pressure from the SNP, the Education Minister, Sam Galbraith eventually announced that an independent inquiry will be carried out to investigate the cause of this delay. However this inquiry is far too late for the thousands of pupils across Scotland who have either received incomplete results or, in many cases, no results at all.

“Labour Ministers are quick to accept credit when things go well, but Galbraith is proving that they are also the first to blame other people for their mistakes when things go badly. As the Education Minister, the responsibility for this unmitigated disaster lies squarely on the shoulders of Sam Galbraith.




Education Minister Accused Of Misleading Parliament

In the first First Minister’s Questions since the Summer Recess the Education Minister, Sam Galbraith, was accused of misleading the Scottish Parliament and the public over the exams fiasco. The day before he had said he had “absolutely no powers” to instruct the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

However, during First Minister’s Questions SNP Leader Alex Salmond said the minister did have powers to direct the SQA under the 1996 Education Act. Mr Salmond said the education act gave him the power to direct the SQA in its discharge of duties and that the SQA had to obey.

He said: “The terms of clause 9 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1996 which states: ‘The secretary of state,’ that’s the minister, ‘may after consultation with the Scottish Qualifications Authority give the SQA directions of a general or specific character with regard to the discharge of its functions and it shall be the duty of the SQA to comply with the directions.’

“I have no doubt that any fair-minded person looking at Section 9 would regard the comments he made to Parliament and to the broader Scottish public as misleading. It may be that he simply failed to read his civil servants’ brief; or, as some have reported, that he was unaware of the full extent of the powers available to him under the 1996 Act. It is clear that he failed to act when he had the powers to act. Whatever the reason the remarks he made were misleading and did mislead Parliament and the public.”





Student Numbers Down From Last Year

It has been revealed that the number of Scottish students accepted to universities has fallen by 6.6% according to the University application organisation UCAS. Commenting on this disturbing announcement, Shadow Lifelong Learning Minister Mr John Swinney MSP said:

“It is an absolute disgrace that serious administrative and managerial blunders are costing Scottish students places at universities and colleges. The Scottish Labour government insisted throughout this sorry mess that no Scottish students would be disadvantaged.

“The repercussions of this fiasco are becoming more severe with each passing day. The situation is far more serious than anyone first thought. It was bad enough when we thought students would suffer anxious delays and doubts over the validity of their results, but now that Scottish pupils are facing the prospect of losing out on university places the situation is critical.

“It is deplorable that this shambles is likely to have a damaging effect on the future of thousands of students. This Scottish Labour government have badly failed Scotland’s students. Although Sam Galbraith is responsible for the shambles over the results process, it is Lifelong Learning Minister Henry McLeish who must guarantee those students affected will not be left in the academic slow lane.”





Broadcast Media and the Press in Scotland – The Scottish Electorate Places Its citizenship In Trust With Journalists – But Is the Trust Misplaced

Broadcast media and the Press in Scotland were heavily biased (in their reporting to the Scottish public) against  the “Yes” campaign. The  shameful behaviour has continued unabated in the period since.

I recently read an analysis of the Scottish Press written by Jennifer Rachel Birks BA (Hons). I commend it to you.






Newspaper Campaigns, Publics and Politics

This thesis examines the practice of campaigning journalism, where a newspaper seeks political influence and claims to do so on behalf of its readers or a wider public. It is a production and content study of campaign journalism in the Scottish press, examining the journalists’ orientation to their readers, both in terms of social responsibility toward them in facilitating their citizenship, and in terms of accountability or answerability to them as their quasi-representatives.

The study also analyses the newspapers’ representation of the substance and legitimacy of public opinion to politicians at the Scottish Parliament, in particular the governing Scottish Executive (now Scottish Government), and the framing of politicians’ obligation to respond to public demands as formulated by the newspapers. In short, it seeks to investigate newspapers’ democratic claims to be the voice of ‘the public’

Jennifer Rachel Birks BA (Hons) Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy – Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences Faculty of Law, Business and Social Science – May 2009

Newspaper Campaigns, Publics and Politics – Jennifer Rachel Birks BA (Hons)






Social Responsibility of the Press in Scotland (extracted and altered for presentation purposes only)

The Scottish public “entrust a measure of their sovereignty to journalists”, or at least newspapers claim that sovereignty on their behalf. This increasingly extends beyond dispassionately judging performance of citizens’ elected representatives; there is typically an emphasis on expressing outrage at wrongdoing, mistakes and indiscretions and demanding resignations. It is characterised by the adoption of ‘professional’ norms designed to facilitate the informed democratic engagement of citizens. In publishing only what is objective, accurate, impartial, balanced and fair journalists allow their readers to vote in accordance with their views, values and interests.

Journalists imagine a Scottish public that is often too preoccupied and too distracted to be active citizens. Therefore citizens entrust a measure of their sovereignty to journalists just as people entrust a measure of control over their bodies to doctors. Journalists are professionals who hold citizenship in trust for us, and we rely on their expertise or political analysis when we want information about the state of the country.

The autonomy of journalists from political interference does not mean that they will necessarily be oriented to the public interest, but it is an important condition under which journalists are free to adhere to professional norms. Such norms are governed by the authority of rules and procedures and journalists are expected to represent events, issues and proposals objectively and impartially rather than selectively in loyalty to preferred groups or in exchange for political or economic advantage. However, critics argue that in reality journalism is subject to the rationale, interests and influence of commerce.

Newspaper owners enjoy considerable political influence over journalists and their output via mechanisms of reward and sanction and career progression. These captains of the means of publicity, and national newspapers have endured losses for many years simply for the gain of political prestige and impact. Rupert Murdoch is the most commonly cited contemporary example for his alleged sway over the Blair government.

It is also argued that journalists absorb hegemonically inflected newsroom assumptions to the point where they become invisible, and which can privilege certain social groups, such as the preference of elite sources as the credible “primary definers”. Journalists self-selected into positions at newspapers with whose editorial line they already sympathise, internalise the editorial policy and anticipated preferred angles or even factual distortions from previous editorial revisions, and learnt by example from more senior colleagues.

Newspaper journalists are supposed to be held to their professional principles through codes of practice such as that of the National Union of Journalists and the industry self-regulatory body the Press Complaints Commission. However, unlike the medical and legal professions, there is no force of accountability to the NUJ code since journalists are not formally accredited by the union and therefore cannot be struck off for misconduct. Similarly, the PCC can only request printed apologies, unlike the state regulator Ofcom for the broadcast media, which has legal force.

This demonstrates how, accountability of the press is consistent with its freedom, in terms of a positive (enabling) definition of freedom. But, like the PCC, this is an internal industry form of accountability, whereby journalists regulate one another nominally in the public interest, but without recourse to public engagement on the issue. Whilst the PCC does respond to external complaints, only individuals who have been sources for stories or otherwise represented within the pages of the newspaper are considered valid complainants, whilst the general public is not able to formally complain about being misinformed or misled, so it is questionable to what extent the PCC code really defends the democratic public interest.

Unrestricted freedom of the press is something that should be championed, but only if that includes freedom from state and commercial influence