NOW that the much heralded Queensferry Crossing has joined the Forth Road Bridge and the upgrades to the A8 to make a continuous M8 east to west across what is looked upon as the Central Belt of Scotland, when can we expect an upgrade to the A7 and the A68 through the southern counties of Scotland which are important parts of the nation of Scotland and important links with our southern neighbours?

I ask the question because when I highlighted the total lack of investment in the roads network in the Borders some time ago I was told by local MSP Christine Grahame that there was no plan to improve the A7, far less convert it to motorway status, as “we have had to provide a new crossing over the River Forth and we simply cannot afford it”. She went on to say there was no justification anyway to have motorways in the Borders “as the amount of traffic doesn’t warrant it”.

Well I have news for Ms Grahame. I pay the same road tax for my car as a motorist in Glasgow with the same vehicle and I am as entitled to a decent road as he or she is. That is the justification for building a motorway network through the Border counties taking in the M7 and the M68 and why not the M72 as well?

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We have been promised for some time by Keith Brown that the present Scottish Government is to “finish off the roads network in Scotland”. Scotland is more than the Edinburgh to Glasgow corridor and it is good to see that even in that area folks are asking for signage that we have Dumfries and Galloway and also Scottish Borders and that the M74 doesn’t just run from Glasgow to Carlisle. There are places in between just as there are places along the line of the A7 “Alternative Historical Route to Edinburgh” quite apart from Galashiels and Edinburgh.

The Scottish Roads network will not be finished until the A7, the A68 and also the A1 are upgraded to routes worthy of the 21st century. Even Police Scotland, the so-called national police force, does not recognise the Border roads as trunk roads, although they are designated as such. One can sometimes side with the law-keepers even if they are not a “national” force either. We in the Borders valued our G Division officers and police offices but these were largely taken away so it isn’t any wonder that a centralised service cannot cover our roads or even attend a crime that they do not deem urgent.

However, first things first. Give us a roads policy and a roads maintenance and improvement strategy run, as it used to be, by the local authorities and the local engineers who knew something about the problems and the local needs. Transport Scotland isn’t doing the job for us so let’s get back to the local authorities working together to build our roads. Who knows they might just bring jobs and industry and even tourism, that appears to be beyond our centralised politicians.
W Kenneth Gunn
Selkirk

HAVING read the blogs written by Richard Murphy on the subject of GERS, I have to say that I endorse the conclusion reached by Michael Fry in his comment piece (Myths perpetrated by GERS figures are typical of Unionist distortions, The National, September 12). The figures are indeed extremely suspect and it’s interesting to see that Unionist commentators such as Brian Monteith have started to include justification for them by inserting apologetic comments that the figures are produced to international standards.

They are not and he knows it. Which begs the question, when does the views of like-minded Unionist commentators move beyond spin and distortion to outright propaganda?
Douglas Turner
Edinburgh

WHILE the knee-jerk reaction to the news that two Tories want their passports to change colour – back to the dark blue so that they aren’t mixed up with other nations – may seem on the face of it justified, I for one can’t wait for my passport to be made a distinctive colour so that I am not grouped in with a political union I have no desire to be affiliated with.

Yes, I cannot wait until we have taken our destiny into our own hands and I have my new black Scottish passport following our breakaway from Westminster.
Craig Smith
Glasgow

THIS new black design is a distinct, clear and new statement of what it means to be Scottish, which is all we should need to travel the world.
Jean Bruce
Address supplied

THERE’S a good idea now! Why doesn’t the Scottish Government try to establish an agreement with the EU that, after Brexit, all Scots wishing to remain EU citizens will have their nice wine-coloured passport honoured throughout the EU, until such time as we become full members again through an independent Scotland?

Then we would only require our blue relic of Empire temporarily for UK customs purposes.
L McGregor
Falkirk

MY reaction to the news that some Tory MPs are salivating over the possible return of the blue passport after Brexit, is the absolute opposite to theirs. The idea of losing my pink passport and having my European citizenship torn away from me by an undemocratic government in Westminster makes me feel sick. What right have they to take this away? As for pride in being British, it is a very long time since I felt that.
Ann Rayner
Edinburgh