Tuesday, July 8, 2008

English Border Town Yearns to Return to Scotland

For centuries before the U.K existed, the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed changed hands 13 times in wars between the English and the Scots. The town ended up in English hands in 1482 and has stayed since.

We in the US don't know anything of the sort.

But today, the walled town on England's windy northeast coast wants to be Scottish once more. Local calls to move the border between England and Scotland 2.5 miles to push Berwick into Scotland are being helped by the resurgent Scottish National Party, which is winning voters from Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party. It is yet another problem for Mr. Brown, whose popularity is at record lows.

Seems Gordie caught the downside of the Labour Party's stay in office.

Local boundaries are redrawn frequently in the U.K. In 1999, the U.K. Parliament tilted a maritime boundary line northward from Berwick to give England about 6,000 square miles of once-Scottish North Sea waters. The move was seen in Scotland as an attempt by London to secure potential oil and gas revenues if Scotland moved for full independence.

We have gerrymandering in the US. But our memories are not as long as this: "Twempies have never quite forgiven the Scots for insisting that Tweedmouth Castle be pulled down in the early 13th century," says Chris Green, the curator of the local museum.

13th century? 800 years.

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